As he kicks off the 16thÂ training camp of his NFL career and the final season of his current deal with the Washington Redskins, linebacker London Fletcher said that he isnât worried about his future. Fletcherâs only concern: Helping the Redskins get back to the playoffs following last seasonâs 10-6 campaign, which ended with a wild-card loss to Seattle.
Training camp is nothing new for the NFL’s iron man, but Fletcherâs enthusiasm was evident Wednesday, the day before his teamâs first practice of the year.
âI feel great,â said Fletcher, who has healed from offseason elbow and ankle surgeries and looks to extend his consecutive-games-played streak to 241 games and beyond. âThis time of the year, most guys get excited, grass starts to smell a little bit different because you know football season is right around the corner, and for me, Iâm excited to be here, feel good.â
For the first time since he came to Washington six seasons ago, the Redskins have moved away from their Ashburn headquarters for training camp. Fletcher welcomed the move to Richmond because he remembers how getaway training camps benefited the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills, teams he played for during the first nine years of his career.
âI was kind of looking forward to this: going away,â Fletcher said. âI think it bonds your team â going away instead of staying home and practicing, because during your free time, guys anytime you get free time, they might run home to do things. But now, because weâre here in an environment where weâre forced to spend more time together, guys might get a meal together and bond and spend more free time together. I think thatâs going to allow our football team to gel.â
The 38-year-old Fletcher hasnât allowed himself to wonder if this will represent his final training camp. And he doesnât view playing in the final year of his contract as a more vulnerable situation.
âReally, in the National Football League, youâre always in the last year of your contract. Itâs just the nature of the business,â Fletcher said, and then with a laugh added: âIâve scratched and clawed my whole career. I came in as an undrafted free agent, so I was in the last year of my contract 16 years ago, if you think about it. Itâs not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Iâm focused on this season, and the rest will take care of itself.â
Fletcher concedes that at this point in his career, he may not be as fast as he once was. But he explained that his understanding of the game expands each year, and that his experience helps him compensate for any physical limitations. But durability â or concerns about it â donât enter Fletcherâs mind.
âItâs just something where you get up every day and go to work and donât think about it,â Fletcher explained. He later was asked a familiar question: the secret to his longevity.
His reply: âGod blessed me with some good genes, a little bit of dumb toughness, too, probably.â Fletcher laughed and continued: âItâs a lot of different things. But really the main thing I look at is not really wanting to let my teammates down and being honest with myself and wanting to be out there on the football field with them. So if I feel good enough to play, I play.â
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line âMailbag questionâ for him to answer it inÂ The Mailbag.
The Redskins practice today at 10 and 3:20. Players talk to reporters after the first practice, and Shanahan does so after the afternoon session.
More from The Post on the NFL and Redskins:
Morning Pixels:Â Shanahan on RGIII: âI learn every yearâ
At the podium:Â Griffin, Fletcher speak at opening of training camp
D.C. Sports Bog:Â RGIII and Mike Shanahan, in each otherâs words