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When linebacker Brandon Spikes was playing for the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills loathed him.

Spikes was fined $21,000 for a blindside hit of Bills tight end Scott Chandler the first time they played in 2012.

In the rematch, Spikes drilled the helmet off quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's bearded noggin on a head-to-head collision that cost Spikes $25,000.

Offensive linemen Eric Wood and Andy Levitre have publicly condemned Spikes' behavior -- and have given begrudging praise.

The Bills will like Spikes a hell of a lot more if he puts on one of their uniforms.

Spikes is making a free-agent visit to One Bills Drive today. So is former San Francisco 49ers running back Anthony Dixon.

Spikes would be a terrific addition.

"Spikes is a physical player," Wood told me a few days before the Bills opened their season against the Patriots. "He's kind of an old-school, thumping linebacker, not one of those hybrid guys that you might see nowadays, where maybe he was a converted safety from college. He's a true linebacker. I have a lot of respect for his game.

"That dude will take a shot on anybody if he sees a clean look. I don't think he's going to make an exception and not hit EJ [Manuel] if he thinks he has a shot at him."

Spikes would be a fantastic fit in the middle of Buffalo's defense, especially with Bills General Manager Doug Whaley revealing today Kiko Alonso will be moved to weak-side linebacker.

Spikes was a second-round pick in 2010. His best season was 2012, when he recorded a sack, seven passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

He played last season on an injured knee but landed in Bill Belichick's doghouse -- and injured reserve -- when he was late for a team meeting in the postseason. Spikes was criticized for not staying in shape.

Spikes is close with new Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, who was a longtime assistant with the Patriots and coached linebackers the past two seasons.