49ers Sign Former Auburn Star Takeo Spikes

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers signed two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes on Sunday, hours after releasing former starter Brandon Moore, who led them in tackles two years ago but whose play had fallen off since then.

The former Auburn standout is expected to start alongside Patrick Willis, the NFL's reigning defensive rookie of the year, at strong inside linebacker in the team's 3-4 defense.

The 49ers' doctors had to check out his shoulder Sunday before the club would agree to a deal. When Spikes visited their headquarters last March, he was rehabbing the shoulder and couldn't pass a physical.

At one point, the 6'2", 242-pounder was believed ready to sign with Detroit. He also has talked to Oakland, Tampa Bay, New England and Cleveland.

Spikes spent 10 seasons with the Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. His season with the Eagles last year ended with a torn rotator cuff in the 14th game.

He finished with 85 tackles, including 63 solo stops, and one sack.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)