PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes
was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, the second
high-profile player cut by the Eagles in a week.
Defensive end Jevon Kearse was let go last Thursday after
playing four seasons in Philadelphia. Releasing Spikes saves the
Eagles $5 million under the salary cap.
Spikes finished second on the team with 139 tackles in his only
season with the Eagles. The 10-year veteran missed the final two
games after having shoulder surgery in December.
The 31-year-old Spikes was acquired in a trade with Buffalo last
March. Known for being a playmaker throughout his career, Spikes
had no interceptions or forced fumbles in Philly.
The move likely means second-year pro Stewart Bradley will take
over as the starting middle linebacker while Omar Gaither moves to
the weakside spot to replace Spikes. Chris Gocong is the strongside
linebacker, giving the Eagles a young group of starters. Akeem
Jordan is fourth on the depth chart.
"Takeo did a really good job for us last year," Eagles coach
Andy Reid said in a statement. "But we are excited about the young
linebackers that have developed over the last year. We wish Takeo
all the best. He's a true team player on and off the field."
A first-round pick by Cincinnati in 1998, Spikes had at least
100 tackles in each of his five seasons with the Bengals. But it
wasn't until he went to Buffalo in 2003 that he got widespread
recognition. Spikes had 144 tackles in '03 and 111 tackles with
five interceptions in '04, making the Pro Bowl both years.
Injuries slowed Spikes in 2005 and 2006.
The Eagles have focused on improving their defense in the
offseason. Philadelphia signed All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel
when the NFL's free-agency period opened last Friday, luring him
away from New England with a six-year deal worth $57 million. A day
later, they signed defensive end Chris Clemons.
The team made a run at All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss earlier
this week, offering more money than he got to return to the
Patriots. If the Eagles end up satisfying Donovan McNabb's request
for an offensive playmaker, it'll probably have to come through a
trade. The addition of Samuel makes two-time Pro Bowl cornerback
Lito Sheppard expendable, so he can be used as trade bait for a top
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)