Brandon Spikes hasn’t made many impact plays in his four years with the Patriots, and the team’s patience with him clearly wore thin at the end of last season when it placed him on injured reserve with a knee ailment instead of letting him play with his teammates.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Spikes, an impending free agent, said Friday on NFL Network that he doesn’t envision a return to New England next season.
“Everybody says you never want to burn a bridge, but I just feel like both sides could benefit from a fresh start,” he said in the interview. “Any team that is willing to take a chance on me is going to get a playmaker, a guy that is very aggressive on the field looking to be a difference-maker. A captain, a leader on the defense — a guy who is ready to lead the charge.”
Spikes, 26, New England’s second-round pick in 2010, started 39 games in four seasons, compiling two interceptions, a sack, five forced fumbles, and 286 tackles. Listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 255 pounds, Spikes was solid in run defense but a bit slow and a liability in pass defense, and he was often taken off the field on third downs.
He played with his knee injury throughout much of the 2013 season and was in all 16 regular-season games, with 11 starts. But in a surprise move, the Patriots placed Spikes on season-ending IR five days before they faced the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs. No explanation was given.
“That was the coach’s decision and I’m just an employee,” said Spikes on NFL Network. “I was definitely devastated not to able to compete.
“You fight all season to get to the playoffs and it really hurt me not to be out there with my teammates. I think overall [if] I could do some things differently I would, but it is what it is. It’s in the past and I think it’s just time to move on.”
Spikes said he’s now “100 percent” healthy and his doctor in Los Angeles gave him a clean bill of health Thursday. There have been rumors that he might reunite with former linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, now in Buffalo, but Spikes said he’s willing to play for any team.
“I feel like I’m a three-down player,” he added in the interview. “I know a lot of people know me as a run stopper but I have great cover skills; I can cover better than you think, and given the opportunity on third down, when I got the opportunity, I delivered every time. It’s on the tape.”
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The Patriots re-signed long snapper Danny Aiken, according to a report on ESPN Boston. Aiken, one of the team’s 12 impending free agents, will be on a one-year deal, according to the report. He has been with the Patriots since 2011 after being claimed off waivers from the Bills and has snapped in every game since then.Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin.