FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots’ first mandatory practice of minicamp was an uneventful one for third-year linebacker Brandon Spikes, who participated in just a handful of drills after having been the lone no-show for voluntary workouts.
However, his session with the media following the workout was a bit more interesting.
Spikes, who arrived at Gillette on Monday, passed on the opening eight weeks of team workouts, and chose instead to spend his time training at a private sports performance center in Florida.
“Honestly, I just felt like I was trying to put myself in the best position to compete for a spot on the team and also help this team win a championship,” Spikes said.
“I mean you guys know me. I frequently do things a little bit different from everybody else,” he continued. “I don’t think they’re bad, or a shocker. Honestly, if everybody in the world was a conformist, it would be one boring place.”
Spikes said that he remained in contact with several of his Patriots teammates in order to avoid falling too far behind.
“I’ve been making sure that things weren’t changing in the meeting room and stuff like that,” he said. “I just wanted to stay on top of my game and when I do stuff on my own I normally do better and [am able to] be productive that way.“
The 25-year-old, said that he was “ready to go” after using the offseason to rehab from a knee injury.
Spikes — who is in the last year of his rookie contract — had 92 tackles, one sack, and forced five fumbles in 15 games (14 starts) last season. His absence from the OTA’s doesn’t appear to be contract related.
Asked if he was upset with his current contract situation, Spikes responded, “You know I can’t speak on that. Why would you ask me that? No comment, guys.”
However, he did go on to assure reporters that he would not be a hold out when training camp begins around the end of July.
Whether the Patriots coaching staff has a problem with the absence of their inside linebacker was not immediately clear. However, coach Bill Belichick did make a point to bring up the team attendance during his press conference.
“All of our players except one have been here regularly through the offseason up until this week,” Belichick said.
Spikes managed to fly relatively under the radar on Tuesday, thanks in large part to hoopla caused by the arrival of his former college teammate, quarterback Tim Tebow.
“I was happy for him [when I heard he’d been signed],” Spikes said. “He got to get his job back and come out here and compete. So that’s good to see him smile, you know that big smile I’m used to seeing for the last few years down in Florida.”
Asked about the distraction that could come with bringing in a player of Tebow’s stature, Spikes responded, “Honestly, I don’t pay attention to that type of stuff. I’m just about winning ballgames and everything else is irrelevant.
“He’s a hard worker, a competitor, and he loves the game and you need guys like that.”