Kansas City defensive backs coach Dave Merritt on the sideline...

Kansas City defensive backs coach Dave Merritt on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. Credit: AP/Greg M. Cooper

LAS VEGAS  —  About three or four years ago, Dave Merritt delivered a message to John Mara when they ran into each other at a league event.

“I said it’s getting close to the time for me to come home,” Meritt told Newsday on Monday at Opening Night of the Super Bowl. “And he kind of looked at me and winked.”

Now, though, is not yet that time. The former Giants secondary coach, who helped the team win its last two Super Bowls, currently holds the same position with Kansas City and is going for his third ring with that organization.

And the Giants? While there was some thought that Merritt might make a good candidate for their open defensive coordinator job, he said he didn’t get a call from the organization. The Giants plan to hire Shane Bowen, sources said on Monday.

“That’s all right,” Merritt said of the anticipated decision.

That door is still open. At least from his perspective.

“If I go back to the Giants in any capacity, that would be a dream come true,” Merritt said. “But I will say this right now: What Mr. Hunt has done here and my feeling toward Kansas City, it is second to none. They are right there with the New York Giants in how they treat me and my family. It’s been great.”

Plus he gets postgame hugs from Taylor Swift after games with his current team.

“She’s really strong,” he said of the headlock-slash-embrace the pop star and girlfriend of tight end Travis Kelce delivered to him after the AFC Championship Game. “She squeezed my neck so hard my eyes almost popped out.”

These days Merritt isn’t enjoying only his own career. His son, Dawson Merritt, is a highly recruited junior edge rusher at Blue Valley High School in Kansas who has received scholarship offers from Michigan, Ole Miss and close to a dozen other schools. Not bad for someone who was a basketball player until two years ago, when he casually mentioned to his parents that he might give football a whirl.

On Sunday, though, Merritt won’t be focused on that process, nor on any snubs or possible future reunions with the Giants. He’ll be getting his team ready to face the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII with a chance to break the 2-2 tie that currently exists in rings he has won between Kansas City and the Giants.

“I’m OK with being a half-decent secondary coach in the Super Bowl,” he said, looking around at Allegiant Stadium. “I’ll just take this every year.”

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