Of all the adjectives to use in describing Brandon Spikes' stay in New England, "mature" probably wouldn't make the top five.
Throughout the first four years of his career, it seemed as though the hard-hitting linebacker had real issues with responding to authority. Even on his way out the door last season, it was reported that Spikes was placed on season-ending injured reserve partly because he had been late to a practice.
Now that Spikes is a veteran in the Bills linebacker corps, he's taking on a leadership role and -- gasp! -- crediting the lessons he learned in Foxboro for helping him make that transition.
"Honestly, I always take the approach of being a professional," Spikes said. "At times when I was younger, I had problems with that, learning the Patriot Way and stuff like that. My hat is off to them. They showed me how to be a true professional on and off the field and how to conduct myself and be a professional. Watching film, taking care of my body. Those are things I’ve been doing as a vet, which I should, but I’m just trying to pay close attention to that."
The Bills could use all the help they can get in the second level of their defense since talented second-year 'backer Kiko Alonso will miss the season after suffering a torn ACL. The rest of that position group will have to pick up the slack with an apparently re-born Spikes leading the charge.