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Spikes tears Achilles, out for season

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Sept. 26, 2005) -- Bills Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes will miss the rest of the season with a torn right Achilles' tendon.

The Bills announced the news a day after Spikes was hurt in a 22-16 loss to Atlanta.

The injury is a significant blow to a veteran defense being counted on to relieve the pressure on first-year starting quarterback J.P. Losman. Angelo Crowell will replace Spikes.

Buffalo's defense has struggled even with Spikes healthy, allowing a combined 721 yards in its past two games, including a 19-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Sept. 18.

Spikes was hurt in the second quarter pressuring quarterback Michael Vick. It's unclear what happened on the play, but Spikes was left lying face down on the field a few feet in front of Vick, who had overthrown receiver Roddy White.

Spikes slammed his helmet to the ground when he rolled over and then grimaced as he tried to kneel. He required help getting to the sideline, unable to place much weight on his right foot. He was in tears when he was carted to the training room.

Spikes is an eight-year NFL veteran in his third season with Buffalo. He has developed into the team's physical and inspirational leader.

He has also proved to be a durable player, having missed only one game -- to attend his father's funeral in 2001 when he was with Cincinnati.

The Bills lured Spikes from Cincinnati in March 2003. They signed the former first-round draft pick to a six-year contract -- a deal the Bengals had the right to match, but declined.

He quickly became the centerpiece of a stingy defense, which finished second in the league in fewest yards allowed the past two seasons. Last year, his five interceptions were the most by a Bills linebacker since Darryl Talley had five in 1991.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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