2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Spikes eager for fresh start in Buffalo

By MARK LUDWICZAK - Associated Press
    2014-03-17 16:56

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - After a falling out with the New England Patriots, linebacker Brandon Spikes is embracing his fresh start with the Buffalo Bills.

Spikes joined the Bills late Friday night on a one-year contract. The Bills have been active in free agency thus far, signing six free agents. The middle linebacker is easily Buffalo's most intriguing addition.

The 26-year-old Spikes is an aggressive, hard-hitting defender. A second-round pick of the Patriots in 2010, Spikes started 39 of 53 games in New England, with 286 tackles and five forced fumbles. He was third on the Patriots in tackles in 2013 with 86.

''I was excited the whole time to get going with a new start in a new beginning in a new place,'' Spikes said on a conference call Monday. ''I feel like it's going to be fun and I'm down for a challenge. I want to help change the culture there.''

Spikes is known for the physical nature of his play.

''All the old-school, throwback `backers, I just molded my game after them and it just stuck with me this whole time,'' Spikes said. ''I wouldn't call it intimidating, I'm just playing and going hard and relentless and play every play like it's your last.''

The addition of Spikes is one of many moves the Bills hope will fix their porous run defense. With Spikes taking over middle linebacker duties, the Bills plan on moving young standout Kiko Alonso to the weak side after spending his rookie season in the middle. The Bills also signed former New York Giants linebacker Keith Rivers to a two-year contract on March 12.

The Bills finished 28th against the run in 2013, allowing an average of 128.9 yards per game.

''I actually think it was like seven games where they gave up 150 yards on the ground. I just want to come and help them out,'' Spikes said. ''That's one of my strengths, stopping the run, and I feel like I can help. Whatever they need me to do, I'm willing to do and do it at a high level.''

Spikes joins a defense that has its fourth coordinator in four seasons. Former Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz is installing a base 4-3 following the departure of Mike Pettine, who left Buffalo after one year to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Spikes is set to reunite with his former linebackers coach, Pepper Johnson, now Buffalo's defensive line coach. Johnson made the move from New England in January and Spikes said his presence was one of the reasons he decided to come to Buffalo.

''A great coach, a great inspiration to the game,'' Spikes said. ''He loves the game and he's definitely what I want to be down the road; he's a legendary ball player and coach.''

After playing with a knee injury for several weeks in New England, Spikes was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 6. An ESPN report later said Spikes was placed on IR after being late to a team meeting during a Boston snow storm.

On Saturday, after the contract was official, Spikes tweeted: ''Free at last, free at last. I thank God I'm free at last. Free at last, Free at last !!!!!! (hash)LetsGetIt (hash)PoWwWwW.''

''I just want to kind of close that chapter,'' Spikes said. ''I just want to put that all behind me. It's great just to have a new beginning. I'm excited. The past is the past. I'm happy now and I'm ready to get to work and I'm just ready to help.''

Spikes is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his cousin, Takeo Spikes. Takeo Spikes was a standout linebacker with the Bills from 2003-06. After wearing number 55 in New England, Spikes is returning to the number 51, which he wore earlier in his career, in honor of his cousin.

''He inspired me to be great,'' Spikes said. ''He inspired me to have a dream and chase it. ... Watching him in Buffalo growing up inspired me to wear the number 51 ... he's just somebody I look to be like.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ More ]

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:03a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy opened practice on the sidelines Wednesday, Dec. 17, while RB Chris Polk opened with first-team reps. After practice McCoy did not seem too concerned. [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanDec 18 01:03a

The Denver Broncos are hopeful RB Ronnie Hillman (foot) will be able to return for the Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Dec. 22, or for the [ More ]

Drew StantonDec 17 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) said this injury is different from any other he's ever had, and he said it's too soon to know if he could return [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 07:03p

San Francisco 49ers RBs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Jay CutlerDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Jimmy ClausenDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group