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Brandon Spikes calls himself "old school," avoids talk of departure from Patriots


Newly signed middle linebacker Brandon Spikes said he aims to bring some old-school toughness to the Buffalo Bills.

"I don’t know no other way to play the game," Spikes said on a conference call with reporters today. "I grew up playing aggressive and watching the elite, all the older guys that paved the way for us. ... All the old-school, throwback linebackers, I just molded my game after them. I really don’t want to call it intimidating. I’m just playing how I know, just go all-out, relentless. Play every play like its your last."

The Bills signed Spikes to a one-year contract on Saturday. He spent the past four years starting for the New England Patriots. He's s 6-foot-3, 250-pounder who the Bills hope can add toughness to a defense that ranked 28th against the run last year.

Spikes was aware of the Bills' run-defense troubles.

"I actually saw there was like seven games where they gave up 150 yards on the ground," he said. "I just want to come help them out. That’s one of my strengths, 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. I’m excited for the challenge."

The Patriots did not made an effort to bring Spikes back, even though he's viewed as one of the best run-stopping middle linebackers in the league. New England has good linebackers. But the Patriots' coaches, according to numerous reports, did not think Spikes marched to their beat as much as they wanted. He was the only Pats player who did not participate in any offseason workouts last year.

Spikes on Saturday Tweeted the following message:

Today, he didn't want to get into any discussion of his attitude toward the Patriots' coaching staff or front office.

"I just want to kind of close that chapter," he said. "I just want to put that all behind me. It just feels great to have a new beginning. Like I said, I’m excited about this. The past is the past. I wasn’t happy. But like I said, I’m happy now and I’m ready to get to work and I’m ready to help."

Spikes said the presence of defensive line coach Pepper Johnson on the Bills' coaching staff made Buffalo very attractive to him. Johnson was Spikes' position coach the past two years in New England.

"He’s a great coach and a great inspiration to the game," Spikes said. "He loves the game. He’s definitely what I want to be down the road. He’s a legendary ballplayer and coach. He just knows the game, and I respect him as a man and as a coach."

  • Hal Jam

    Spikes should help make the Bill's D better. With the Bill's D line they could be AWESOME!

  • David Sorrento

    great FA pick-up

  • Lloyd M. Jr.

    Spikes says, "I'm old-school."
    Talk is one thing; end result is another.

  • Eben Clukey

    Old school, all out relentless ballers show up for off season workouts.

  • disqus_7seKPOeorp

    It would be great to see some hard nose football played by the Bills.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.