By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Takeo Spikes – Signed by the Bills in 2003

The Cincinnati Bengals finished their season with a game in Buffalo against the Bills in 2002. One of Cincinnati’s players received more cheers than most of the Bills that day. The fans knew that Takeo Spikes would be a free agent in 2003, and chanted his name at time in a recruiting effort.

Spikes had spent five years as a Bengal starting in 1998, and he only missed one game as a starter. That was to attend his father’s funeral. He could tackle, he could rush the passer, and he could cover receivers. What more could you want out of a linebacker?

The Bills listened to their fans, who knew what they were talking about. They signed him to a six-year, $32-million offer sheet. The Bengals chose not to match the offer, and Spikes was on his way to Buffalo. The Auburn product proved to be a good investment right away, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2003 and 2004. He even returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2004. But Takeo torn his Achilles early in the 2005 season, and wasn’t quite as good a year later.

The Bills traded him to the Eagles in 2007, and Spikes spent a year there before moving on to the 49ers (three years) and Chargers (two years). It added up to 15 years in the NFL, but the Bills got his best in his first two seasons in Buffalo.

Here he looks back on his career:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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