London Fletcher continues to defy father time.
The 37-year-old middle linebacker and captain for the Washington Redskins today was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month after being the only player in the NFL with three-plus interceptions and two-plus sacks in December. He also tied for second in the NFL with 51 December tackles.
Fletcher continues playing at an elite level despite a nagging ankle injury that he suffered prior to the Week 12 game vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Since that time, Fletcher has rarely participated in team drills during practices and has been a mainstay on the team’s injury report, but he’s maintained his consecutive games-played streak, which is currently at 240.
He’s earned even more respect and admiration from those around him who thought at several junctures this season that the pain Fletcher was experiencing would be too much to overcome.
“I am amazed,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said last week. “I have never been around a player like him. The way he prepares, the way he works. The one thing about London is he will never miss a practice, even when he is hurting. So for him to miss as many practices as he has and to have a guy like London play with the injuries that he has to me is unbelievable because he can’t literally walk. Then to see him be able to play on game day and play at that level is something I have never had.”
Fletcher has also pushed through the pain this season to continue a trend from last year, when he was a Pro Bowl selection and led the NFL in tackles — and that is taking advantage of a second-half surge.
Last season, Fletcher had 94 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles in the last eight games of the season after collecting 72 tackles, a half-sack and one forced fumble in the first half of the year.
This season, Fletcher has 74 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions in the second half, compared to 72 tackles, one sack and an interception in the first eight games.
Last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in both teams’ win-or-go-home, NFC East championship game, Fletcher shined with 11 tackles, two huge sacks and a pass deflection, as the Redskins defeated the Cowboys 28-18 to claim their first NFC East title since 1999 and first playoff appearance since 2007.
Here’s some notes about Fletcher’s season in 2012, according to Redskins Public Relations:
– In Week 12 at Dallas, Fletcher intercepted Tony Romo in the third quarter to register his 20th career interception, joining Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher as the third active player to have at least 20 interceptions and 30 sacks in his career.
– Fletcher registered his third interception of the season against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, then tying his most as a member of the Redskins (three, set in his first season with the Redskins in 2007).
– Fletcher registered an interception of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the second quarter against the Eagles in Week 16. It was his 23rd career interception, giving him sole possession of second-most by an active linebacker (Ray Lewis – 31). It was Fletcher’s fifth interception of the season, a single-season career high. It was his 12th career interception with the Redskins, tying him with Sam Huff and Wilber Marshall for fifth-most by a Redskins linebacker. It marked Fletcher’s third straight game with an interception, the first time in his career with at least one interception in three consecutive contests.
– Fletcher played in his 240th consecutive game in Week 17, keeping him tied with Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber for the longest active streak in the NFL.
– Fletcher registered his career-high-tying second sack of the game in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 17 win vs. Dallas, giving him 37 for his career. It was Fletcher’s fifth multi-sack game of his career and his first since Dec. 4, 2005 at Miami as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
– Fletcher finished the season with 3.0 sacks, his most since 2005.
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Tags: london fletcher, NFC Defensive Player of the Month, washington redskins
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