Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher became the NFL’s active leader in consecutive games played when Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber, who’d been tied with Fletcher with 240 straight regular season games, retired in the offseason.
But Fletcher said Thursday he won’t be thinking about outlasting Barber when he takes the field for Monday night’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.
“I can’t get caught up in that,” Fletcher said. “I can’t focus on that. You’ve really just got to just focus one game at a time. Right now we’ve got the Eagles. I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about, trying to figure out how to stop their offense.”
It was a different sort of offseason for Fletcher. He underwent ankle and elbow surgeries, the first surgeries of his NFL career. But he said he was able to resume his usual offseason preparations for football soon after.
“Really, probably since maybe the end of May, the beginning of June, it’s been normal prep work for me,” Fletcher said. “So from that standpoint, I’ve been able to do all the things I would normally do in the offseason as far as conditioning-wise and prep for the season. The surgeries seem so long ago. I really don’t think about them much because I feel so much better, having had the surgeries.”
Fletcher endured a series of nagging injuries last season but played on, as always. He has not missed a game during an NFL career that began with the St. Louis Rams in 1998. He said he doesn’t see a need to change his weekly routine this season to attempt to avoid a repeat of last season’s injury struggles.
“Some things are just an accumulation of wear and tear,” Fletcher said. “I had a couple high ankle sprains in the past. So that really was what led to the ankle surgery. Same deal with the elbow. So it’s nothing where I need to change up what I need to do as far as a maintenance standpoint or prep throughout the course of a week.”
He said he eagerly awaits the start of his 16th season.
“I feel good, excited about the start of a new season,” Fletcher said. “I think everybody’s always excited about opening day. It’s something you look forward to. I expect the atmosphere to be great. It’s a Monday night game against the Eagles. It’ll be very exciting to get going.”
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