Takeo Spikes’ body forced the Chargers to let him go, but they’re sure going to miss his mind.
Spikes’ age may have rendered him expendable, but his years were an invaluable asset.
The Bolts released the 36-year-old linebacker Thursday, parting ways with a 15-year veteran who has played in 219 NFL games. And while they’d like to replace with him a player in his prime years, finding one who can mirror his mentorship is of prime importance.
This isn’t about locker-room leadership, which, to many, is angrily yelling “letttttttt’s goooooo!!!” at triple-decibels before kickoff. This is about locker-room, practice-field, offseason, weight-room, bye-week, and even night-club leadership that Spikes could inimitably employ.
In the NFL, 36 is not the new 26, it is the new 56, and for someone to play competitively with that many rings on his trunk is the byproduct of superior preparation and preservation. Steve Young learned from Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers blossomed behind Brett Favre, and the young, unproven Chargers linebackers could profit considerably from an adviser of their own.
We’ve seen how San Diego linebacker Donald Butler has flourished in his first two years on the field, both of which came alongside Spikes. We’ve heard 49ers linebacker Navorro Bowman praise Takeo’s daily grind in San Francisco, where he spent three years before coming to the Chargers in 2011.
A Chargers guide to replacing Takeo Spikes
San Diego Union-Tribune | Mar 8