London Fletcher to retire at end of season
Redskins’ linebacker London Fletcher announced Wednesday afternoon that he’s “99 percent” sure this will be his last season in the NFL.
“I feel like I have accomplished everything I can accomplish in the National Football League,” Fletcher said after practice at Redskins Park. “Obviously, everybody wants to go out like Ray Lewis with the Super Bowl parade and winning the Super Bowl. That would be great to go out with, but it wasn’t in the cards for me if this is it.”
As for the timing of the announcement, the Redskins play their final home game of the season Sunday at FedEx Field.
“I also look it [as] this being my seventh year in Washington,” he added, “Biblically speaking, the number seven marks completion. So for me, I feel like my work is done here in Washington.”
Fletcher entered the league in 1998 as an undrafted rookie out of John Carroll University. Now he’s the active leader in consecutive games played at 254. The 38-year-old inside linebacker already owns the record for consecutive regular season starts by a linebacker at 213.
This season, he’s second on the Redskins in tackles with 98, which puts him on pace for 112. That would be his lowest total since his sophomore season with the Rams.
But declining stats aren’t how his teammates will remember Fletcher, their longtime captain and a potential hall of famer. They said they'll remember the toughness, the longevity and the professionalism he brought to the practice facility each morning.
“That says a lot,” Santana Moss said of Fletcher’s Iron Man streak. “This game is a rough game, man, and no matter who you are, you go out there banging that long something is going to bother you to make you not play. And he withstood it all.”
Offensive lineman Trent Williams added: “He’s not human. I’ve said it to him before. He’s made out of titanium or something. I don’t understand how he did it.”
Robert Griffin III said he learned a lot from Fletcher as far as being a leader. When Griffin was drafted, team officials put his locker stall right next to Fletcher’s for a reason.
“You have to come to work every day ready to go,” Griffin said when asked what he learned from Fletcher. “Whether it’s showing up early, or being the last guy to leave. There are many different ways to be a leader.”
Fletcher cracked that he's reserving that last one-percent just in case he has a last second change of heart. But on Wednesday afternoon, he did not sound like a player who intends to reconsider.
“In order to do it at the level that I’ve been able to do it,” Fletcher said, “it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifice … time spent training, meeting and watching extra film. But I’ve missed a lot other parts of my life. I have three young children; they’re back in Charlotte. I’m missing parts of their life, with them growing up. That comes into play. ”