Earlier this month, San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes was rumored to be contemplating retirement after 15 seasons in the league. However, Spikes has recently stated that he will be returning for his 16th year and plans to play for the blue and gold. However, with new coaches and new management in town, are those feelings mutual?
Spikes, who signed a three-year deal with the Chargers in 2011, is set to make $3 million in 2013. The team may feel that Spikes, who is clearly declining as a player, may not be worth that kind of money. Spikes has slowly lost his speed and struggled at times in pass coverage last season. With the Chargers rebuilding, they may want to get a younger – and cheaper – option at the position.
Spikes followed Greg Manusky from the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, and stuck with the team even after Manusky got the boot. Now that AJ Smith and Norv Turner are also gone, Spikes no longer as the support from the front office or the coaching staff.
However, he does have plenty of support from the players. Spikes is viewed as locker-room leader, who is a well-respected mentor for the players. If the Chargers do rebuild with young players, they may want Spikes around for his leadership.
The Chargers also don’t currently have much at inside linebacker behind Spikes as Demorrio Williams is set to be a free agent and Jonas Mouton has one career tackle. With so many questions about the team’s offensive line and secondary, general manager Tom Telesco may need to focus on other positions rather than finding a replacement for Spikes.
Wherever Spikes is playing next season, he’ll certainly be motivated as he is every season. In his 15 years in the league, Spikes has yet to play for a team that made the playoffs. Spikes believes San Diego can be a playoff team in 2013 and hopes to be a part of it.