Takeo Spikes proud of his cousin Brandon


Takeo Spikes proud of his cousin Brandon

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
FOXBORO The conversations don't last long, and aren't that frequent.

But there's no mistaking San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes is proud of his cousin, New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes.

"He's a good football player," Takeo Spikes said. "He's a good football player for their system, and what they have."

The numbers certainly bear this out.

As a rookie last season, Brandon racked up 61 tackles in 12 games with eight starts after an illustrious career at Florida in which he was a two-time All-American and was part of two (2007 and 2009) national championship teams. However, a horrible 40-yard dash time - he clocked in at 5.06 seconds - saw his stock plummet into the second round of the draft.

While he was slowed by injuries during the preseason, Brandon is gradually working his way back into resuming his spot as a starting inside linebacker - the same position his cousin Takeo plays - in New England's 3-4 defense. In Sunday's 35-21 win over San Diego, Brandon had two tackles while his cousin Takeo racked up seven.

Takeo, who grew up in Georgia, said he didn't learn that they were cousins until a few years ago.

"I always knew I had family in that area (North Carolina), but I never knew (who)," said Takeo, 34. "I just did a little research and found out."

What he discovered was a young, hard-hitting linebacker whose aspirations - to play in the NFL - were no different than his when he was that age.

Leading up to the 2010 NFL draft, Takeo was hoping his team at the time, San Francisco, would use one of their early draft picks - the 49ers had three in the first two rounds that year - to select his cousin.

Instead, San Francisco used its first-round picks on a pair of offensive linemen, and used its second-round pick, 49th overall, to draft Southern Cal free safety Taylor Mays.

Thirteen picks later, Brandon Spikes was a Patriot.

Takeo sees a tremendous amount of talent, growth and potential in Brandon, an assessment he says he would have come to regardless of them having the same bloodline.

"He has a natural knack for the ball," Takeo said. "A lot of people not blessed with (his) instincts. He plays aggressive. Good athlete. Those intangibles alone his pedigree, where he came from. He won a lot of football games at Florida. Not only was he part of it; he was an integral part of it. He was one of the leaders."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official


Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.