Takeo Spikes
Spikes in the 2012 NFL season.
No. 51     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1976-12-17) December 17, 1976 (age 43)
Place of birth: Augusta, Georgia
High School: Sandersville (GA) Washington Co.
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 242 lb (110 kg)
Career information
College: Auburn
NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
Debuted in 1998 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
* Cincinnati Bengals ( 1998 2002)
Career highlights and awards
* 2× Pro Bowl (2003-2004)
Tackles     1,423
Quarterback sacks     29.0
Interceptions     19
Forced fumbles     15
Stats at

Takeo Gerard Spikes (/təˈk/; born December 17, 1976) is an American football linebacker. He played college football for Auburn University. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals 13th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. A two-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, Spikes has also played for the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers.

Spikes has the distinction of playing in 219 regular season games without a playoff appearance, which is the most in NFL history.[1]

Early yearsEdit

Spikes was born in Augusta, Georgia.[2] In high school at Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia he earned All-American honors from Parade and USA Today and was named Georgia's "Mr. Football" by state coaches as a senior. Spikes was also named Georgia Player of the Year as a senior.

College careerEdit

Takeo entered Auburn University, majoring in liberal arts. In the 1997 campaign, he led Auburn with 136 tackles as Auburn advanced to the SEC Championship game where they were defeated, 30-29, by the Tennessee Volunteers led by Peyton Manning. Spikes was college teammates with productive tailback Stephen Davis.

Professional careerEdit

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

Spikes entered the 1998 NFL Draft and was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals. In his rookie season he started all preseason games and all regular season games. He became the first rookie to lead the Bengals in tackles since James Francis led them in 1990. He also led the team by total snaps played on offense and defense, which added up to 997.

In 1999 he was the team captain, playing in all his games as a Right Inside Linebacker and a Right Linebacker. He forced four fumbles and recovered four, leading the team in that as well.

In 2000 he played every game as a Right Linebacker and recorded 128 tackles. He passed the 100 tackle mark for the third straight time and led the team in tackles and fumble recoveries.

In 2001, Spikes started at RLB for all of the 15 games he played that season. He once again led the team in solo and total tackles in the 2001 campaign. Spikes missed Game 5 because of his father's death.

The 2002 season was his final season with the Bengals, as he played all 16 games. In his tenure with the Bengals, he played 79 of a possible 80 games, missing one for his father's funeral. He led the team in solo and total tackles once again and scored his second defensive TD by way of fumble recovery. Following the season, Spikes was given the designated player tag making him a restricted free agent. After not finishing better than 6-10 during any of his seasons in Cincinnati, Spikes stated he rather sign with a playoff contender. (Though rather ironically, the Bills did not make the playoffs for the entire 2000's decade, while the Bengals went 11-5 and won their division in 2005).

Buffalo BillsEdit

File:Takeo Spikes Bils.jpg

The Buffalo Bills signed Spikes to an offersheet worth $32 million over six years, that the Bengals did not match.[3] The 2003 season, earned Spikes his first Pro Bowl selection. He recorded 126 tackles, with the addition of a pair of sacks, a pair of interceptions, and a pair of fumble recoveries.

On September 25, 2005, Spikes suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles' tendon while tackling Michael Vick during the Bills 24-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3. In 2006, while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Spikes played in 12 games while missing 4 games early in the season due to a hamstring injury. During the first series of the first game of the year, Spikes made a blind side sack on Patriots QB Tom Brady, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Bills LB London Fletcher for a touchdown. The sack and forced fumble were Spikes' only of the season.

Philadelphia EaglesEdit

File:Takeo Spikes.jpg

On March 26, 2007, he was traded alongside Kelly Holcomb to the Philadelphia Eagles, in exchange for Darwin Walker and a 2008 draft pick.[4] After an effective first season as an Eagle, Spikes season was cut short in week 14 when he suffered a torn rotator cuff injury against the Dallas Cowboys, a game the Eagles won 10-6.

With emerging linebackers Stewart Bradley and Omar Gaither ready to take over, the Eagles chose not to pick up his team option, thus making him a free agent. Ironically, the Eagles made the playoffs six of the previous seven years before he was traded there, and also the following three after he left (including a trip to the NFC Championship game the next year). However, by not making the playoffs in his lone season in Philadelphia, Spikes had gone eight seasons without being part of a playoff team.

San Francisco 49ersEdit

On August 10, 2008, Spikes was signed by the San Francisco 49ers on the same day they released linebacker Brandon Moore.[5] Spikes was assigned No. 51, with Dontarrious Thomas changing from 51 to 56 - the number previously worn by Moore. On February 27, 2009 Takeo was re-signed to a 2-year contract. He was injured on November 1, 2009.

After being assured that he would be re-signed by head coach Mike Singletary, the 49ers fired Singletary and decided to go with rookie NaVorro Bowman as the starter,[6] making Spikes a free agent once again.

Coincidentally, the 49ers also made the NFC Championship game the following season after Spikes departure. It ended an eight year playoff drought for the franchise, and the team went to three straight NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl over the next three seasons.

San Diego ChargersEdit

Spikes signed a three-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on July 26, 2011.[7]

On September 30, 2012, he forced Jamaal Charles to fumble when playing against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers later won the game 37-20. Spikes was released by the Chargers on March 7, 2013.[8]

Spikes insisted that he had no plans to retire, however he went unsigned for the 2013 season without yet appearing in a single playoff game. The Chargers won a playoff game the season after Spikes was released.


According to Spikes, his nickname TKO stands for "The Knock Out". Several of Spikes' jerseys from the early days of his career are preserved in glass at the Dairy Lane restaurant in Sandersville, Georgia.

He was named after Japan's 66th Prime Minister Takeo Miki after Spikes' parents saw a news report.[9] Miki's successor, who was appointed the nation's 67th Prime Minister on December 24, 1976 a week after Takeo was born, was also Takeo (Fukuda).[10] Takeo's younger cousin Brandon Spikes is currently a Buffalo Bill.[11]


External linksEdit

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