The Buffalo Bills' run defense received a clear boost with last year's addition of free-agent linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Understandably, there was a clamor from many fans, particularly through social media, for the Bills to re-sign Spikes after his one-year contract expired.
It never happened, largely because the Bills were confident in going with second-year man Preston Brown as his replacement as the signal-caller from inside linebacker. Brown and fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham ranked first and second on the team with 108 and 100 tackles, respectively.
Spikes also had been told by the Bills that he would have to compete in training camp and the preseason to keep his roster spot, and that apparently didn't sit well with him, according to NFL sources.
And now, according to multiple media outlets, Spikes is returning to the Bills' AFC East rivals, the New England Patriots, who made him a second-round draft pick from Florida in 2010. He spent four seasons with the Pats before signing with Buffalo after the 2013 season.
Spikes visited the Patriots last week.
Last season with the Bills, he was credited with 54 tackles (including 22 solos), which tied him with end Jerry Hughes for sixth on the team. He was largely credited with helping the Bills, after ranking 28th in the NFL against the run in 2013, improve to 11th in that category in 2014.