FOXBOROUGH -- Usually it's his play that brings plenty of attention, the hard hits or even the long dreadlocks. But on Friday, Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was making a little news because of his wardrobe.
Spikes was wearing a sweatshirt that had "Harvard Law" on it in large, crimson block letters. In smaller letters, under it, were the words, "Just Kidding." Spikes told a large media gathering that it was given to him as a birthday gift.
He was in a jovial mood Friday, after the team's final practice of the week before heading to Buffalo Saturday for Sunday's season opener against the Bills. The start of the season usually has everybody in a good mood.
"My goals are the same every year: Be productive on the field," Spikes said. "This year I’m an older player and we’ve got a lot of younger guys. We’re trying to direct them, make sure they’re in the right position, be a good defense and execute."
Part of that approach Sunday will be focusing on Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel, who will be making his NFL debut. Manuel's rookie status doesn't mean much to Spikes, a former Florida player who has seen Manuel star for rival Florida State the past few years.
"He’s in the NFL, so I’m sure he’s an elite athlete," Spikes said. "I don’t really pay attention to the years, we’ll take the same approach as any other quarterback. We’ll try to get after him.
'I didn’t want to get into [Manuel being a former Seminole]. I know what he’s capable of doing."
Spikes was asked about Thursday night's league opener between the Broncos and Ravens, specifically about the two touchdowns caught by former Patriots receiver Wes Welker.
"No surprise. He’s a great player," Spikes said. "I’m pretty sure he’s going to be productive wherever he goes."