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Kiko Alonso reminds Bills CEO of London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes

By Tim Graham

Kiko Alonso's career is four NFL games old.

This morning, Buffalo Bills CEO Russ Brandon compared the rookie to a pair of linebackers who've played 463 games.

On Brandon's weekly WGR radio show, host Howard Simon asked Brandon to fill in a blank: Alonso is the best Bills linebacker since ...

Brandon is a marketing whiz. He could've dodged the question politely, but decided to name-drop London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes instead.

"It's tough to put a comparison on him, being such a young player," Brandon said, "but to see his athleticism and how quick he is ... and what he's able to bring to the table, he's really quick, has great instincts.

"He reminds me a little bit of instincts with London, with the great instincts that London had, the toughness of a Takeo.

"He's really a complete 'backer. To not come off the field, a three-down linebacker in this league and the way the spread offense is and the way guys get after it offensively, you've got to be a pretty darn good athlete."

Fans are ecstatic about Alonso's hot start. As written Monday on the Press Coverage blog, Alonso already is compiling the kinds of stats -- leads NFL rookies in tackles and interceptions -- that will make him a legitimate candidate for defensive rookie of the year.

But pardon me if I think it's waaaaaaaay too soon for the front office to begin making comparisons to Fletcher, who's in his 15th season, and Spikes, who retired last year after his 15th season.

Let's give the kid a chance to grow first. Rather than pander to a hungry fan base, the man who runs football operations should be careful about heaping early praise on a maturing player with a checkered past.

Can you imagine Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin or Mike Tomlin comparing a rookie to stars of that team's past?

If asked the same question as Brandon, I doubt you'd hear Doug Marrone make those types of evaluations either.

Rex Ryan? Yeah, that sounds like something he'd do.

Either way, Bills fans should hope Alonso appears in a Pro Bowl earlier than Fletcher did (not until his 12th season) and more playoff games than Spikes has (zero).


Kiko Alonso | London Fletcher | Russ Brandon | Takeo Spikes
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |