Brandon Spikes thanks — and ribs — Patriots on his way out

Brandon Spikes ends his tenure with the Patriots less than
amicably. (Bob Leverone / AP photo)

Brandon Spikes knew he wasn’t long for New England.

The veteran linebacker had seen his snaps decrease on passing downs and had bumped heads with management, especially after he was placed on injured reserve this past season with a knee injury. That move, Spikes and his agent have said, was debatable.

But his issues went further with the Patriots. He was often seen as one of the Patriots players that were muzzled, unable to speak freely, so he avoided reporters as much as possible for fear of retribution. He had a gift of gab, which often led to trouble on Twitter with the organization.

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On Tuesday, as the NFL free agency period opened, Spikes gave his thanks to the team on the social network. But he also hinted at the underlying issues he had that kept him from enjoying himself.

In 16 games for the Patriots in 2013, Spikes tallied 86 tackles, good for third on the team.