Former NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday to discuss a book series he is putting together on the greatest NFL players of all time. The first book of the series is called Behind the Mask.

“I’m sharing the greatest linebackers that ever played the game – Hall of Fame guys,” Spikes explained on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I’m sharing their story of how they became great, what made them become an outlier.”

Not surprisingly, Lawrence Taylor is among those featured in the book.

“LT is definitely on the list,” Spikes said. “There’s no doubt about that. But if there’s somebody in there who you would ever question about – I reached out to everybody. So know that if they’re not in the book, it’s because they did not want to be in the book.”

Spikes, a two-time All-Pro, said that all great linebackers have speed and power, but the truly elite ones have something else.

“(It’s) not talked about much because people can’t actually grab it, (and it’s) something you can’t teach,” Spikes said. “I’m talking about (having) a pulse for the game. Regardless of whatever play may be called, and (regardless of what) your responsibility (is on that play), that pulse, that knack for the game – that is what leads the guys to big plays. And in my book, you will hear a lot of guys share their moment.”

Many Hall of Fame linebackers, including LT, were known to freelance from time to time.

“LT was a freak,” Spikes said. “But the thing that would surprise everyone else is (for) these guys, it was a mindset. ‘I have a desire to be great, and this is what I’m going to focus on.’ Along the way going down that road of greatness, you have to make a commitment. You have to sacrifice. And that’s what each of these guys were able to do while I was covering them throughout the book.”


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