With 29.0 sacks, more than 1000 tackles and a first-team All-Pro selection in a decorated 15-year NFL career, Takeo Spikes earned himself the reputation as one of the best linebackers in recent NFL history.
But Spikes, a two-time Pro Bowler back in his playing days, is now much more than a football player. He is a story-teller.
Spikes’ new book, Behind the Mask, tells the on-and-off the field story of multiple NFL linebacking greats, such as Mike Singletary, Derrick Brooks, and the Chuck Bednarik. At tonight’s New York City book release at The DL, Spikes expressed that this book is much more than just talking about football.
“What you see on Sunday is just a small microcosm of what really goes on,” Spikes said. “That’s how I came up with the concept of Behind the Mask, and I knew other players and other linebackers would make it more interesting.
“For me, I feel like we are in a society now that people need to hear these stories because they are going to need to realize I am the same as you, I’m no different. What makes us different is yeah, I was blessed with a little athletic ability, but I’ve decided to stay focused, stay committed, and stay committed to something that is bigger than I ever thought.”
Along with sharing insight on the lives of NFL greats, Spikes marked this New York City book release tour with a generous donation. Spike donated to Beyond the Boroughs, a scholarship fund dedicated to awarding four-year scholarships to students aiming to be first-generation collegians started by former NFL lineman Tutan Reyes.
“I loved the concept of what [Reyes] was doing,” Spikes said. “I knew at some point I said, ‘if I ever could help let me know.’
“This was a great way for me to be that stop-gap guy to come in and say look, this is my contribution to what you are doing in your city, the great city of New York.”
After putting people on the ground in the NFL, Takeo Spikes’ life is now gauged at lifting people up with stories and helping out those around.