London Fletcher anticipates returning for a 16th NFL season.
(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back and Virginia native Ronde Barber on Wednesday night announced his retirement, putting to end an impressive career.

Barber compiled a long list of accomplishments over his 16 seasons in the NFL, and among them is one that links him with Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.

The players were considered the league’s ironmen, each having played 240 consecutive games – the longest active streak in the league. Barber and Fletcher had trailed Peyton Manning in that category, but Manning missed the 2011 season with a neck injury. His streak ended, and Barber and Fletcher took over.

With Barber due to retire and Fletcher anticipating returning for another season, the Redskins linebacker would stand alone in the consecutive games played category.

Fletcher this offseason had surgery on an elbow and ankle, but Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said that his recovery is going well. The Redskins anticipate having the captain of their defense on the field in Week 1.

Barber and Fletcher faced each other last season for what turned out to be the final time in their respective careers. Barber said at the time that although the two shared the streak, he considered Fletcher’s run more impressive because of the physicality of his position.

“I have to say doing it from his spot,” Barber said leading up to the Week 4 meeting. “I don’t know how he’s doing it. I saw him in the preseason right before the game. Neither one of us were playing, but we had a little conversation about it. I gave him props then. Doing it as middle linebacker 15 straight years is way more impressive than me. I’ve taken some hits in my day, but not nearly the type of pounding that he has over his career. Much respect for him.”

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