When London Fletcher announced on Wednesday that he expects to retire following this season, plenty of his teammates had reactions and praised the 38-year-old linebacker for his efforts on and off the field.
Here’s yesterday’s story on Fletcher’s announcement. And here are some of the things his teammates, and an opposing player and coach had to say about Fletcher.
“We can lean on his shoulder to lead this team as far as anything going on around here that’s out of our hands and he shows us how to not let that bother us and stay focused and stay in line to do what we need to do. There’s a lot to be said about London. I just don’t even have enough words in my head to go longer with it, but he will be missed.”
— Wide receiver Santana Moss
“Unmatched, honestly. Every year to play 16 games in one season is really a feat. To do it as long as he has, it’s really remarkable, and to see it at as physical a position as he plays at the inside linebacker position, I don’t think you’ll see that happen.”
— Safety Reed Doughty
“I remember one time in OTAs, he made a pass breakup and got up and showed a lot of emotion and I said, ‘You know what? That’s him. That’s why he’s been here so long. Because the game means something to him.’ Because OTAs are a lot more lax than even practices during the season. … [The consecutive games streak] is hard to fathom. I’m 25 and I’m beat up at this point in the season so I can only imagine how he feels. That shows the dedication to his body. It’s one thing to play that long but to play as well as he has, that’s a true testament to him.”
— Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan
“His presence is just — it’s hard to say — but when London speaks, everyone listens. It’s not wandering eyes, people on the phones. Everyone listens, including coaches. It’s almost like we don’t want to mess up in practice for the coaches, but because of London. That’s just how we feel. Because he puts so much effort and stuff as far as the work ethic out onto the field and we want to make sure we do well for him.”
— Linebacker Brian Orakpo
“It’s definitely like a big brother, little brother relationship. I have the utmost respect for London. He’s helped me out a lot, too. In the last four years with him, I’ve learned a lot from him on how to be a pro on and off the field. He’s a great example of that.”
– Linebacker Perry Riley Jr.
“I’ll always remember him, when I came in this locker room, they sat me next to him and that was for a reason, and I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s helped guys like me, Perry Riley, Brian Orakpo. There’s not a guy in this locker room that he hasn’t helped.
“You’ve got to come to work every day, ready to go. Whether it’s showing up early, being the last one to leave. There’s many different ways to be a leader. You can learn that from a guy like him. Obviously you guys see him giving pre-game speeches, but he’s more reserved, rough on the edges, focused guy no matter what’s going on outside, he comes in this building, shuts it all down and focuses on football.”
— Quarterback Robert Griffin III
“It’s going to be a challenge going on without him. Other people are going to have to step up. He definitely rubbed off. We’ve definitely learned lessons that won’t leave with him. So, we’ll just try to pick up where he left off and make him proud.”
— Nose tackle Barry Cofield
“London has been through — we’re now a 70-percent passing league to when he first came in, it was probably 80 percent run. He’s been able to evolve and adapt and has continued to be able to produce at an extremely high level year in and year out. Perseverance. To do it as long as he’s done it and play at as high a level as he has is a commitment to excellence. When he came to this organization, he already had a great resume. To come here and be what he has for the last seven years has been tremendous — as a teammate and as a man in the community. It’s easy to put a couple of years together in this league, but to do it for as long as he’s done it, I don’t think you’ve ever seen that. And I think it’s a testament to his work ethic and abilities.”
— Defensive end Kedric Golston
“[He’s] an unbelievable football player. I competed against him for a long, long time and he just is an outstanding player. He’s everything that the NFL wants in a player. He just has played the game the right way and been such a productive guy, a great team leader, and someone I just have the utmost respect for.”
— Cowboys coach Jason Garrett
“When you think about a guy, the leadership he really brings to that team and how he’s been consistently one of the top tacklers in the league every single year, it just shows how hard his offseason work has been and how much dedication he’s had to the team. He’s been a great team player.”
— Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.
● On whether Mike Shanahan considers Fletcher a Hall of Fame-caliber player.
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