Opening up about his exit from the San Diego Chargers, veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes told NFL Network that his release had nothing to do with his ability on the field.
"It was nice to know that I did not get cut because I can't play," Spikes told "NFL AM" on Monday. "A new GM, a new head coach, it makes it that much harder as a veteran guy -- especially with 10 years in the game -- to stay on that team. When GMs come in, they want their own guys."
What new general manager Tom Telesco wants, clearly, is a younger team. The Chargers had 16 players on the wrong side of 30 last season. The defense wasn't a disaster, ranking ninth overall, but Spikes -- at 36 and weighed down by a $3.7 million salary cap hit for 2013 -- wasn't in the plans.
Spikes might find work as a role player. The two-time Pro Bowl linebacker has worn five different uniforms since 1998, a meandering journey that's taken him from Cincinnati to Buffalo, Philadelphia to San Francisco, down to San Diego and now to whatever stop comes next.
The 15-year NFL veteran said his priority is playing for a "contender," someone who can help him get to one place he's never been: the mountaintop.