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Beef with Takeo Spikes is part of bigger Bills alumni issue

The Bills brought back linebacker Takeo Spikes to speak to the crowd before the Week 2 home opener against the Raiders. Then, Spikes went to his seat.

Then, Spikes showed the world that the team had given him an obstructed view.

As explained by Tim Graham of, the issue with Spikes is part of a broader dispute with Bills alumni.

“I was disappointed that he was disappointed,” Bills G.M. Brandon Beane said, via Graham. “There are some things we can do better to the point where Takeo didn’t feel like he needed to put that message out there.”

Still, even as Beane said all the right things on the record, three Bills sources told Graham off the record that Spikes was offered two different alternatives, “but he refused, with one of the sources saying Spikes seemed intent on taking the issue public.”

“He painted a far worse picture to prove a point,” a former Bills executive told Graham. “Those guys all talk. This had been festering for a while, and he took the opportunity.”

Indeed, Spikes wasn’t the first one to be given the same obstructed-view accommodations.

“Marv Levy and I — along with several other legends — have had those same seats that Takeo had, and it’s embarrassing,” Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith told Graham.

There’s always a balance to be struck between respecting former players but not giving them too much influence. At times during Ralph Wilson’s tenure as owner of the team, it seemed that former players were given too much of a voice in matters relating to the current team.

“It’s very important to the Pegulas and [coach] Sean McDermott and me to treat the Bills alumni and our current players and staff first-class,” Beane said. “This is a storied franchise with a great history. We want them to enjoy being around. We respect them, and there are a lot of times we’re pointing back to what they’ve done as teams or individuals.”

That’s what every team should be doing. Honor the past fully and completely. But draw a line between showing respect for those who have come before and giving those folks any real say as to what’s currently happening with the team.

With Spikes, the Bills ended up on the wrong side of that line. In correcting the situation, they need to be careful not to go too far the other way.