It has been a year of reflection from Brandon Spikes.
“I had to re-evaluate my life, get my priorities in order and I had to look back and what’s important to me,” Spikes told reporters on Monday. “That’s my family, most important, and football.”
After parting from the Bills following the 2014 season, Spikes re-signed with the Patriots, who selected the linebacker in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft.
But, following an early morning car crash in June of 2015, the Patriots cut Spikes.
He ultimately pleaded guilty to speeding, negligent driving and leaving the scene of the accident.
He did not sign with any team and did not play in the league last year.
“I think that whole year off, it helped me get that chip on my shoulder, that desire, that burning fire to be great, what I had when I came into the NFL,” he said. “I won’t lie, I won’t sit here and lie to you guys. I think I became a little bit complacent.”
Even with a year of soul searching, a slimmer looking Spikes said he’s not worried about having to jump into the mix.
“I think with the year off, the football’s still the same size. It’s the same game. That didn’t change. I’ve been doing this since I was 6 or 7 years old. Like I said, I’m anxious. I’ve dreamed of this day plenty of times. I’ve dreamed of this moment.”
A return to the player Spikes was, would be a welcome addition to Rex Ryan’s defense. Along with a rash of injuries to Shaq Lawson (shoulder), Reggie Ragland (knee) and Manny Lawson (chest), Rex and his brother Rob are looking for a bounce back year after dropping from 4th to 19th in the league’s defensive rankings in 2015.
“You better buckle that chinstrap up when you’re going against him,” Rex said after practice on Monday. “That’s a guy that’ll hit you.”
For Spikes, who wore a shirt with the phrase “Prove People Wrong” on his first day at practice in Pittsford, he's ready for his second chance.
“You know, you grow from something like that,” he said. “When something’s taken away from you, you love and you can’t do it anymore, you take a huge step of growth I think.”
“When you face a little bit of adversity, I was always taught, they don't judge a man by what he's doing, they judge him on what he does after he gets punched in the mouth and falls down.”
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