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When you say the name Takeo Spikes, you automatically think of the football legend. The Takeo Spikes who is only one of 7 linebackers to record more than 200 career starts in the NFL. The Takeo Spikes who never averaged anything less than 70 tackles per season. The Takeo Spikes who has two career Pro Bowl appearances, and the Takeo Spikes who is a hall of famer. But Takeo himself will tell you that he has never been one to put himself in a box. Blessed with not just an enormous football talent, but also a rare gift for photography, artistic ability, and a unique style of writing, Takeo is changing the game in a different way with his book entitled “Behind the Mask.”
“Behind the Mask,” is a beautiful photography and coffee table book that highlights the personal journeys of legendary NFL Linebackers such as Mike Singletary, Harry Carson, and Derrick Brooks, through intimate and personal photographs and interviews.

In all, there are twelve total linebackers (who are all hall of famers) who have their stories captured in the book, perhaps the most poignant being Chuck Bednarik whose interview to Takeo was his last. This masterpiece didn’t happen overnight however. In fact it took two years. In the words of the man himself;

“Over a two year period, I went to their house, talked with them personally, and got their most intimate thoughts. I’ve always wanted to share stories, and I didn’t want to make it just about myself because this is bigger than me. I feel like you wake up every day with greatness, and I wanted to inspire others to share their stories- stories that will be passed down from generation to generation. It’s one thing to talk about doing something, but it’s another thing to actually do it.”

Art and photography has always been a part of Takeo’s DNA, even before he was fully aware of it. As a teenager, his mother was attempting to take pictures, and they kept coming out blurry. So Takeo took ahold of the camera himself, and began shooting.

A defining moment came during a team trip to London, when he decided to venture out and document his trip through photography. By the time the trip was over, Takeo had many of London’s most beautiful sights and monuments in his collection, and his teammates were begging for copies (which he denied because they initially laughed at him when he decided to start taking pictures on the plane).

It was then that he became fully aware of the talents he possessed. Talents that he has passed on to his daughter Jakai, who is very much into the arts, and loves to be on camera. Ever the doting dad, Takeo has made sure to scrapbook many pictures of his daughter, and plans to put together a big collage of pictures and videos showcasing her through the years once she graduates.
As for Takeo’s future, he will continue to serve as a sports analyst, and is about to begin work on volume 2 of “Behind the Mask,” the running back edition.

That does it for our second segment of “Where Are They Now,” as always Scrapsports will be sure to keep you updated as we continue to follow Takeo’s journey.

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