Redskins’ London Fletcher ‘questionable’ but hopes to play Sunday


Redskins’ inside linebacker London Fletcher is listed as questionable for Washington’s clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
October 26, 2012

The Washington Redskins have listed inside linebacker London Fletcher as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 37-year-old practiced on Friday and said he hoped to play.

Fletcher, a 15-year NFL veteran who has never missed a game in his career, strained his right hamstring last Sunday against the New York Giants, sitting out much of the second half. Then on Monday, he revealed to Redskins coaches that he also had been suffering from balance issues.

Fletcher watched from the sideline on Wednesday as the Redskins kicked off the practice week. On Thursday, he saw a neurologist and went through six hours of testing.

Coach Mike Shanahan said that doctors ruled out a possible concussion as a cause for the balance problems, but that the issue remains a mystery.

“It wasn’t a concussion. Not sure what it was,” Shanahan said. “We’re going to keep on testing him. Sometimes people think it’s the inner ear when they talk about balance issues. . . . Good thing about it is he’s feeling a lot better.”

Fletcher’s hamstring continued to limit him, but he reported improvement on that front as well.

Fletcher moved gingerly through the portions of practice that were opened to the media on Friday. Asked how active he had been, he said, “I did what I could.” Shanahan said Fletcher was a full participant, and listed him as so on the final injury report of the week.

“I was encouraged by today,” Fletcher said. “It felt good to get out there and run around. It’s still another 48 hours until game day, so hopefully I keep improving. My body has a great way of healing.”

Fletcher refused to go into great detail regarding the balance issues and chose not to answer the question of whether they could be related to the preseason game and a couple of practices he missed in August because he “wasn’t feeling well.” He did say, “As far as my balance, I had been dealing with it the last couple of weeks, but finally decided to tell them about it and try to figure out what’s going on.”

Fletcher has played 231 consecutive games — tied with Ronde Barber for the NFL’s longest active streak — and last season led the league with 166 tackles and made his third Pro Bowl. He leads Washington with 59 tackles this season and serves as the leader of the Redskins’ defense, setting his unit up in the proper formations and calling out assignments based on the opposing offenses.

Fletcher said that the consecutive-games streak doesn’t play heavily in his mind as a sense of motivation for playing this week.

“I don’t really think about it a lot until people talk about it,” Fletcher said. “I always take it as the mind-set of if I’m ready to play a game, I’m ready to play a game. That’s just really how it’s been. I love being out there with my teammates, love being out there on the field playing football. That’s really just how I approach it.”

Redskins notes: Right tackle Tyler Polumbus was fined by the NFL for an unnecessary roughness call he received in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants.

Polumbus was fined $7,875 for a “leg whip” when referees believed that the lineman tried to swing his leg around to trip or slow New York defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Polumbus, who will make roughly $700,000 this season, had fallen to the ground, and his leg flew up, but it didn’t do anything to impede Joseph. . . .

Running back Alfred Morris was voted by fans on NFL.com as rookie of the week. Morris rushed for 120 yards on 22 carries against the Giants.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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