San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes looks on from the sideline against the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California on August 11, 2011.
The San Diego Chargers have released veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes.
Spikes, 36, was under contract for 2013 at $3 million. The move buys the team $3 million in salary cap space.
With this move, the team stands just around $10 - $11 million below the spending limit.
“Takeo is a true professional and a class act,” General Manager Tom Telesco said in a written release from the team early Thursday. “We’re grateful for his many contributions to the Chargers organization, both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
Spikes made a statement via Twitter: ""Thank you to the @Chargers, the Spanos family & fans for the opportunity to represent the organization. I look forward to this upcoming season."
Spikes has played in two Pro Bowls and made the All-Pro team. He made 1,737 career tackles - 218 of them with the Chargers.
NBC 7’s Derek Togerson described Spikes as “arguably the best player in NFL history who's never reached the post-season.”
While his physical play against the pass may have been slowing down, his presence in the locker room was huge.
He can be credited with the recent rapid development of Donald Butler into one of the league’s best young middle linebackers.
The reaction on NBC 7's Facebook page was mixed.
Chargers fan Cathy Szames Mueller posted, "Nah, don't agree with this move at all........he was a strong leader and teacher."
NBC 7 follower Juan Carlos Gonzalez agreed saying "here we go again well he will become a super star some were else."
Trev Madsen from Carlsbad supported the move by the new management. "Solid move. Slow guys are a liability in this league," he posted on our Facebook page.
In his first two years with the Chargers, his team mates voted him their most inspirational player.
Chargers are now in the market for at least two middle linebackers through the draft or free agency.
In two days, teams can start negotiation with free agents and can sign them on March 12.
“Don’t be surprised to see more cuts coming from the Chargers in the next couple of days,” Togerson said.
In reporting the news this morning, NFL.com said Spikes hopes to still play this season for another team.
Although it’s a longshot, fans should not rule out the possibility of the Chargers resigning Spikes for less money.
Spikes has been a regular contributor on "NBC 7 Football Night in San Diego" and "Sportswrap" with Jim Laslavic.