Brandon Spikes warned Aaron Hernandez of being around the 'wrong people'
Buffalo Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes feels lucky to be in the position he’s in. Not just on a roster for the first time in more than a year — but alive.
Spikes, who is back with the Bills and could have a role on Rex Ryan’s defense with rookie Reggie Ragland out for the season, is not taking for granted another chance in the NFL. It has given him some good perspective after he admitted to suffering from depression while being out of the league last season.
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He also had some eye-opening recent comments, via newyorkupstate.com, in which he spoke about the number of times he felt like his life could have spun out of control.
Some of those instances were his own doing, such as a 2015 arrest for hit and run that caused the New England Patriots to release Spikes a month after re-signing him. But others were from external sources — such as his former Patriots and University of Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder and who sits in prison, currently serving a life sentence.
“I don’t even know if I should talk about it,” Spikes said. “But the latest situation with a good friend of mine. I don’t like talking about it, but hey, this is a friend of mine. I’m not going to turn my back on Aaron Hernandez. I see his situation.
“You know, we use to talk about this all the time. Like, ‘Hey, change your life, you’ve got the wrong people around you.’ I know that because of my older brother. I watched him keep this [type of] people around. Look where it got him. It’s like, ‘Don’t be that guy.'”
Spikes’ brother, Breyon Middlebrooks, acted as a pseudo father for a family that lacked one growing up. But when Middlebrooks went to jail for murder in 2001, Spikes had a different view of things. It made him realize that associating with the wrong people, which might have been at the root of Hernandez’s problems, could cost a man his freedom or his life.
“I can’t really feel sorry for you, because you knew!” Spikes said. “How else can it end? You can change them? Nah, I mean, they don’t have anything to lose. You have everything to lose. I just think about that.
“We still talk and he’s in a good place mentally. That was necessary for him. Whatever it may be, even though it’s a bad situation. Some people might look at that as a bad situation. But you never know. He’s alive, but it was necessary. It’s like my brother. He’s behind bars, that was part of his cause. You can’t change that. They know. They know how to live right and do the right thing.”
Certainly, Spikes shouldn’t put Hernandez above reproach — there’s personal responsibility to consider here. After all, it was his actions that got him convicted. Outside influences might have hurt him, but he ultimately was the one to blame in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd.
But would Hernandez be out of jail if he listened to Spikes? Who knows? Spikes, though, is a man who speaks from experience — and one who has been fortunate enough to get a few second chances himself.
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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter!