Is London Fletcher Hanging Up His Cleats?

Fletcher levitating 560x287In a recent story on Comcast Sports, London Fletcher admitted he’s undecided about returning to the Redskins in 2013. A man who has played 240 consecutive games in the NFL is undecided about his future.

From his rookie year in 1998 with the St. Louis Rams, through his short time in Buffalo, to his celebrated career in Washington, Fletcher has yet to miss a game. He is the NFL’s iron man. And to play a position as physically and mentally demanding as middle linebacker makes it even a greater accomplishment. Of course, fans would give anything to have Fletch back on the field, leading the defense to another postseason run, but what else is there for this man to conquer?

Let’s look at his career highlights:

  • 1998 – Signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Rams
  • Played in every game of his first season
  • 1999 – Recorded 138 tackles, most for any Rams player since 1995
  • Started at linebacker in Super Bowl XXXIV, defeating the Titans 23 – 16
  • Named to the All-Madden team in 2000
  • Signed with Buffalo in 2002 as an unrestricted free agent
  • Set a career high and a team record with 209 tackles
  • Scored his first career touchdown by recovering a Tom Brady fumble in 2006
  • Named to Pro Bowl in 2007 as an alternate, his last season with the Bills
  • 2007 – Signed a five-year deal with the Redskins and became starting Middle Linebacker
  • Was co-winner of the B.J. Blanchard Award, an honor given to a Redskins player who helps the local media do their jobs.
  • 2008 – Won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
  • Named to the NFC Pro Bowl team after Jonathan Vilma’s Saints made it to the Super Bowl.
  • 2009 – Nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award
  • 2009 – Elected to the Pro Bowl
  • 2010 – Elected to the Pro Bowl again
  • 2012 – Elected as a Pro Bowl alternate
  • 2012 – Won the Bart Starr award, given to athletes who best exemplify outstanding character and leadership at home, on the field and in the community
  • 2012 – Named Redskins 2011 Defensive Player of the Year
  • On April 12, 2012 was resigned to a 2 year deal worth $10.75 million.

Fletcher is a cornerstone of the Redskins defense, team and public persona. He exemplifies what it means to be a stellar athlete, a team leader, a community icon and a beloved fan favorite. To say he would be missed is an understatement. To say that he doesn’t deserve to call it a successful career is disillusioned.

If he decides to hang up his cleats, it’s a well-earned retirement. Many opposing offenses would love to see it, and not a single Redskins fan, coach or player wants it to happen.