After Bengals Say No, Spikes Is Headed to Bills

From Staff and Wire Reports

The Cincinnati Bengals on Monday declined to match Buffalo's contract offer to linebacker Takeo Spikes, allowing him to move to the Bills as a free agent.

Spikes, a first-round draft pick in 1998, has consistently been a leading tackler for the Bengals. But after the team's 2-14 finish last season, Spikes said he hoped to move to a new team and make a fresh start.

He became an unrestricted free agent after last season, and signed an offer sheet Friday with Buffalo. The Bengals had designated Spikes as their transition player, which gave them the option to match any offer he would receive.

Bengal Coach Marvin Lewis, hired during the off-season, had tried to persuade Spikes to stay in Cincinnati.

"I wish him well with his career in Buffalo," Lewis said. "Today is the beginning of a new day in the Bengal organization, and in the shaping of the football team under my direction."

On Friday, the Bengals signed Spikes' expected replacement, free agent Kevin Hardy, formerly with Dallas and Jacksonville.

In Buffalo, Spikes will be reunited with former Bengal coach Dick LeBeau, now an assistant to Bill Coach Gregg Williams, and Tim Krumrie, the former Bengal defensive line coach now in the same job with Buffalo.


The Washington Redskins added one speedy receiver and stepped up their pursuit of another, signing Patrick Johnson and completing an offer sheet for Laveranues Coles.

Johnson signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent from Jacksonville, where he caught nine passes in nine games before his 2002 season was cut short by an abdominal injury. He previously played four seasons in Baltimore, catching a career-high 29 passes for 529 yards in 1999.

The Redskins also have offered Coles, the New York Jets' outstanding young receiver, a seven-year contract worth about $35 million, including a $13-million signing bonus.

Coles is a restricted free agent, so the Jets will have a week to match the offer. If they don't, they will receive Washington's first-round pick.


Cincinnati signed cornerback Tory James. James, who started for Oakland in the Super Bowl with a rod stabilizing a broken leg, was released by the Raiders in a salary cap move.... Carolina released defensive tackle Sean Gilbert. Gilbert, 32, broke his right hip during the second half of a 12-9 home loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 27 and sat out the last eight games of the season.... Tampa Bay signed center John Wade. Wade replaced three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Christy, who was released last month.


The Orlando Predators remained the only unbeaten team in the Arena Football League with a 46-38 victory over the Indiana Firebirds at Orlando, Fla. Connell Maynor threw two touchdown passes to Travis McGriff in a 20-0 fourth-quarter rally that helped secure the victory.


Norwegian musher Robert Sorlie was the first to arrive at the Unalakleet, Alaska, checkpoint, at 2:50 p.m. in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Ramy Brooks was second, arriving at Unalakleet at 4 p.m. Three-time Iditarod champion Jeff King was third, leaving the previous checkpoint at 7:50 a.m., and defending champion Martin Buser was in fourth.

Marshall quarterback Stan Hill and offensive lineman Jarrett Baisden pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges at Huntington, W.Va., stemming from a disturbance at a fast-food restaurant.

Huntington police arrested Hill and Baisden in the early-morning hours Feb. 27 at an establishment near Marshall's campus.

Hill, a sophomore, was charged with public intoxication. Baisden, a freshman, was charged with underage drinking.

A New Jersey company that makes grout was removed as a defendant in a $27-million lawsuit at Charlotte, N.C., by a couple injured when a pedestrian walkway collapsed at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

After plaintiffs Marty and Cindy Taylor of Nelson County, Va., rested their case Monday, the judge granted a motion to remove Anti-Hydro International Inc. of Flemington, N.J., from the case, said Doug Ey, the company's lawyer.

U.S. Tennis Assn. President Alan Schwartz announced that Lee Hamilton has been appointed executive director and chief operating officer. Hamilton succeeds Rick Ferman, who resigned in January following nearly seven years as executive director.


Naftali Temu, who won the 10,000 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Games to become Kenya's first Olympic gold medalist, died in Nairobi, Kenya. He was in his mid-50s and had been in the hospital since January with kidney problems, said David Okeyo, secretary general of Athletics Kenya.


T.J. Simers has the day off.

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