That really doesn’t exaggerate what Redskins linebacker London Fletcher does for a living. Yet Fletcher, 36, has not missed a single game in his remarkable 14-year career. That’s 224 consecutive regular-season games at one of the most violent positions on a football field. And this past season, Fletcher, one of the oldest players in the league, led the NFL in tackles.
Most NFL careers last just four to six years, depending on whether you believe statistics from the players union or the league, and nearly everyone who plays any length of time misses a game sooner or later because of injury.
Not Fletcher. With the Super Bowl approaching, I thought I’d ask him what he does to prepare himself for the mayhem he faces on the field each week, and how he has managed such longevity. There are fitness lessons in his replies for those of us who only hold a remote and watch Fletcher do his stuff.
How have you managed this kind of streak? Does it have anything to do with your fitness regimen?
Yes, definitely. In the offseason, I work out maybe four or five times a week, weightlifting, and then also speed work, cardio work, things like that. I do strength [training], elliptical machines.
Once the season starts, I work out two to three times a week and then also . . . massages twice a week . . . active release therapy, I do that. I do acupuncture. . . . Nutrition is also big, and then rest. . . . I also have been blessed with great genes. God gave me great genes.
Can you take us through an offseason workout day?
Monday, I may get up, lift weights, then go to the field. Depending on whether I’m doing an upper-body lift or a lower-body lift, that’ll determine what kind of run work I may do. If it’s an upper-body lift, then I can do a little bit harder running-wise, with my sprint work or my resistance cord work that I do. I do hills, do a little hill training as well.
If you’re doing sprints, how many and for how long?
It might be 14 40s [40 yards], 16 110s or 120s. It could be 10 sprints with a resistance cord. It just kind of varies. I also may do some position work, where I’m doing my linebacker-type movements in a time period, in sets of 10.
Do you do any distance work?
Nah, I’m not built for distance. I’m built for sprints. I’ll do maybe a 30-minute elliptical, that’s what I’ll do from a cardio, endurance-type standpoint. I like to get the heart rate up and keep the heart rate up pretty high. . . . It can get up to 160, 170.