The Washington Redskins have plenty of concerns heading into 2013. The health of quarterback Robert Griffin III, whether someone can emerge as bona fide no. 2 wide receiver, and who exactly will start in the secondary are a few question marks/concerns going into training camp.
There are no such questions, however, regarding who the leader of the defense is.
Yes, inside linebacker London Fletcher will be patrolling the middle of the field just as he has been for 15 NFL seasons; he has played 240 consecutive games, starting the last 199. Sure, one would think all those games, his age and nearly 2,000 tackles would eventually catch up with Fletcher. However, the incredibly popular Fletcher, who will begin his 16th NFL training camp later this month, isn’t showing any signs of decline.
Fletcher, of course, was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 1998 as an undrafted free agent from little known John Carroll University in Ohio. He spent four season in St. Louis and was part of the Super Bowl XXXIV champion Rams team in 1999. In fact, since Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season, Fletcher has been the only member of the Rams championship team still active in the league.
In 2002, Fletcher signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent, before doing the same with the Redskins in 2007. Currently, Fletcher is the third-longest tenured Redskins behind wide receiver Santana Moss and safety Reed Doughty.
And during his time in Washington, Fletcher has been the model of consistency, starting every game and recording at least 128 tackles in all of his six seasons in Washington. Last season, he had five interceptions and was named the NFL defensive player of the month in December.
In short, the Redskins have no concerns regarding Fletcher. The gritty tackling machine is a virtual lock to play 16 games at a Pro-Bowl level.
Of course, sooner or later, age will catch up with him. But if past history is any indication, it doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.