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:
— brandon spikes (@BrandonSpikes55) March 15, 2014
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."