It’s the news of the day.
Veteran linebacker London Fletcher walked into the media room deep inside Redskins Park after practice, grabbed the team logoed microphone and announced that he’s 99 percent certain Week 17 will be the last time he dons an NFL jersey with shoulder pads underneath.
Soon after, teammates ranging from fellow old-timer Santana Moss to rookies nearly half his age began reflecting on their time with and under the grizzled four-time Pro Bowler.
Sometimes those of us on the outside forget how much time players spend with one another. The countless hours together often breeds unbreakable bonds that last a lifetime.
Fellow linebacker mates scratched the surface of what Fletcher’s presence has meant to their professional careers shortly after the announcement spread through the Internet:
“It’s definitely a big brother-little brother type of relationship. I have the utmost respect for him; he’s helped me out a lot through the years. I’ve learned on and off the field how to become a pro. He’s a great example of that. I thank him a lot and I owe him a lot. Even though he’s been in the league for 16 years and he knows just about everything, he still tries to learn. He doesn’t act like he knows everything. He’s still trying to grow as a player. He still takes notes every week [and is] watching the film of practice. It’s stuff like that that you only do if you really love the game. He’s one those guys that really loves the game.”
“It’s been unbelievable. I mean I transitioned from a defensive end to an outside linebacker and it’s been awesome to learn from him. The Don Dada. It’s been an awesome experience learning from him, seeing how much knowledge he has about the game and he’s never one to withhold information to make his team better.”
“He’s been a blessing. For me to come into the league and he being a leader, especially at the linebacker position and my own position room, [I’m] really fortunate to have been able to play with him and it’s going to make me play that much hard these last couple of games knowing it’s the last time I’m going out on the field with Fletch.”
“He’s all about business. He doesn’t beat around the bush. You come in as a rookie linebacker and he won’t treat you as a friend. [He’ll say] ‘This is what I did. Learn from this’ and he’s been more like a father figure. You can’t ask for nothing better than that.”
“Whenever he’s coming out on the blitz or he’s filling in gaps [and] just knocking boys’ heads off, he’s just such a physical presence. He’s a very sound tackler and he makes sure that when he tackles somebody it’s with authority. That’s what he does consistently week in and week out. You can never take that away from him. The way he prepares himself, the way that he knows stuff that’s going to happen before it happens, the way he sees formations and can kind of decipher the different plays they’re going to run, man it’s amazing. London is a special guy that you can’t replace.”
Tags: Brandon Jenkins, Brian Orakpo, darryl tapp, london fletcher, LondonFletcher, Perry Riley Jr., ryan kerrigan
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