ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — After a falling out with the New England Patriots, linebacker Brandon Spikes is embracing his fresh start with the Buffalo Bills.
Spikes joined the Bills late Friday night on a one-year contract. The Bills have been active in free agency thus far, signing six free agents. The middle linebacker is easily Buffalo's most intriguing addition.
The 26-year-old Spikes is an aggressive, hard-hitting defender. A second-round pick of the Patriots in 2010, Spikes started 39 of 53 games in New England, with 286 tackles and five forced fumbles. He was third on the Patriots in tackles in 2013 with 86.
"I was excited the whole time to get going with a new start in a new beginning in a new place," Spikes said on a conference call Monday. "I feel like it's going to be fun and I'm down for a challenge. I want to help change the culture there."
Spikes is known for the physical nature of his play.
"All the old-school, throwback 'backers, I just molded my game after them and it just stuck with me this whole time," Spikes said. "I wouldn't call it intimidating, I'm just playing and going hard and relentless and play every play like it's your last."
The addition of Spikes is one of many moves the Bills hope will fix their porous run defense. With Spikes taking over middle linebacker duties, the Bills plan on moving young standout Kiko Alonso to the weak side after spending his rookie season in the middle. The Bills also signed former New York Giants linebacker Keith Rivers to a two-year contract on March 12.
The Bills finished 28th against the run in 2013, allowing an average of 128.9 yards per game.
"I actually think it was like seven games where they gave up 150 yards on the ground. I just want to come and help them out," Spikes said. "That's one of my strengths, stopping the run, and I feel like I can help. Whatever they need me to do, I'm willing to do and do it at a high level."
Spikes joins a defense that has its fourth coordinator in four seasons. Former Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz is installing a base 4-3 following the departure of Mike Pettine, who left Buffalo after one year to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
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