49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 12, 2008
Report: Spikes visiting 49ers

After nabbing one free-agent linebacker from Auburn, Dontarrious Thomas, earlier this month, the 49ers appear to be interested in another former Tiger. Takeo Spikes, who was recently released by the Eagles, will visit tomorrow, according to NFL Network. The 49ers didn’t exactly confirm the report – they won’t until the player is physically in the building – but they didn’t deny it either.

Spikes is a former teammate of cornerback Nate Clements’ and Jonas Jennings’ when all three played for the Bills, and the trio is represented by agent Todd France. Spikes, 31, began his career in Cincinnati in 1998 and led the Bengals in tackles for the next five seasons. Spikes spent four years in Buffalo before being traded to the Eagles last season.

He was the Eagles’ starting weakside linebacker through the first 14 games in 2007 before suffering a torn rotator cuff that required surgery. His 2005 season in Buffalo also was cut short when he tore his right Achilles’ tendon in Week 3 of that season.

For most of his career, Spikes has been the featured linebacker but he likely would play “ted” linebacker in the 49ers’ system. That position calls for a hard-nosed defender who can take on blocks while the featured player, Patrick Willis, makes tackles. Last season, Willis paired nicely with veteran Derek Smith, who signed with San Diego last month.

The team has said that Thomas and Jeff Ulbrich also will compete for the open “ted” position.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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