Spikes discusses eye-gouging incident during NFL audition
Published: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 1, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.
INDIANAPOLIS — He knew the questions were going to come. He had avoided them for four months but when you're auditioning for a job, no comment doesn't cut it.
So Brandon Spikes answered each time he was asked by an NFL team at the NFL Combine.
“Why did you try to gouge a player's eyes out?”
Spikes, of course, was suspended for half a game by Urban Meyer after video showed him trying to stick his fingers into the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Spikes later extended the suspension to a full game. On Sunday, he said that was completely his decision.
“I didn't want young guys to think that was the right way to play the game,” he said.
Spikes, who is projected as a second or third round draft pick, said he told the NFL teams who asked during interviews the same thing.
“I told them it's the SEC, Florida-Georgia is a big rivalry,” Spikes said. “There were a lot of emotions going on. Both sides were taking shots at each other. But that's why I suspended myself. That's not the way the game is supposed to be played.”
It is behind him now and likely won't affect his draft status. Linebackers who play with passion are hot property in the NFL even if their passion is occasionally misguided.
And Spikes is being talked to as a linebacker, not as a defensive end as some have speculated. Spikes did play as a stand-up defensive end in Florida's Joker package last season.
“Strictly linebacker,” he said. “I've told them all I can play any linebacker position they want me to play.”
Spikes went silent with the local media in Gainesville for almost his entire senior season after he felt his words were misrepresented concerning the possibility of dirty play by Oklahoma in the national title game. He also passed on a chance to go to SEC Media Days because there were so many media in attendance.
On Sunday, he stood at a podium and looked as comfortable as he would if he were playing linebacker against The Citadel. This is a new world, one that many thought would have happened a year ago.
But Spikes came back for his senior season and said he doesn't regret it a bit, even though Florida fell short of a third national title in his four seasons.
“Alabama was just the better team that day,” he said of the SEC title game loss. “If I could do it again, I'd play that game again. It hurt to lose.
“But I don't regret coming back. We had a chance to do something that had never been done before and to do it in the toughest conference in the country. We had a brotherhood with all the guys from the 2006 class. It wasn't a hard decision at all.”
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