FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots linebackers Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes are more than happy to put their college rivalry aside now that they're teammates in New England.
Mayo, a former Tennessee star, and Spikes, who was the Patriots' second-round pick out of Florida in April, will unite in the middle of New England's linebacking corps. Mayo has already emerged as the Pats' defensive leader, and Spikes' role will be better defined over the next few months.
Spikes has long since made it clear he's thrilled to learn from Mayo, and the Patriots veteran acknowledged Wednesday he followed Spikes' career with the Gators.
"He was a great player at Florida," Mayo said. "Those are kind of our rivals, if you want to call it that, even though they beat us the last, about, five times. I wouldn’t really call it a rivalry right now at this present time, but he was a good player in college."
Mayo was thinking off the top of his head, but he was right: The Gators have claimed five in a row, and it's been a very one-sided rivalry since the teams re-upped that tradition in 1990. Florida is 14-6 in those 20 meetings. No matter for Mayo.
"He's a Patriot now," Mayo said, "so we're all wearing the same helmet."