Takeo Spikes’ 15-season career in the NFL could be at an end after the San Diego Chargers opted not to offer the linebacker a new contract.
The 36-year-old, who has enjoyed spells with five different teams, has never managed to reach the play-offs despite playing in 219 regular season matches, 32 of which were for the Chargers.
He holds the record for playing the most regular season games without making a play-off appearance.
The news has affected betting NFL markets as well as being a blow to Spikes, who said: “It hurts. The reason I wanted to finish up with the Chargers is those young guys in front of me. Those are some damn good football players.”
During his career, Spikes made 1,737 tackles, including 218 tackles with the Chargers, and recorded 100 or more tackles in a season no fewer than 11 times.
“Takeo is a true professional and a class act,” said General Manager Tom Telesco when confirming the news.
“We’re grateful for his many contributions to the Chargers organisation, both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
Spikes played college football for Auburn University before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals 13th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft.
After spending four years with the Bengals, during which time he featured in 79 out of 80 games, Spikes had a three-year spell with the Buffalo Bills. He then had a brief period with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 before being released after injuring a shoulder.
The San Francisco 49ers then signed him and he remained there until being picked up by the Chargers on a three-year contract in July 2011.
Spikes was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro in 2003 and 2004 when he was with the Buffalo Bills.