The Washington Post

London Fletcher says he’s ’99 percent certain’ he’ll retire [updated]

Linebacker London Fletcher announced on Wednesday that he will likely retire from the NFL after 16 seasons.

Fletcher said at Redskins Park he is  “99 percent certain” he will retire after the season’s remaining two games. He said he must have one more conversation with his wife to make the decision final.

“I felt like I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in the National Football League,” Fletcher said.

He said he wanted to have a chance to say goodbye to the fans at Sunday’s home finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins said the Redskins will be motivated Sunday to try to win for Fletcher.

“We would love to have him walk off that field the last time, if it will be the last time, with a victory,” Cousins said.

Fletcher said he was embarrassed the last time the Redskins played at FedEx Field, a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and he hopes things go far differently this weekend.

London Fletcher says he'll probably walk off FedEx Field for the last time on Sunday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) London Fletcher says he’ll probably walk off FedEx Field for the last time on Sunday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

He said all players would like to leave the sport the way Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis did, with a Super Bowl triumph, but he accepts that won’t happen for him.

“I’m not 28,” he said. “I’m 38. I understand that.”

Fletcher, the league’s active Iron Man, has played in 254 consecutive games. He is one of only four players in NFL history to play in 250 consecutive games. Fletcher owns the league record for consecutive starts by a linebacker with 214.

Fletcher called his consecutive games streak “part of my legacy” but said he also wants to be remembered for the player he was.

Teammates praised Fletcher’s leadership, passion and durability.

Nose tackle Barry Cofield said of Fletcher, “he’s definitely rubbed off. All of us have learned lessons from him he won’t forget.”

Fletcher gave another endorsement of Mike Shanahan as he prepared to exit, saying owner Daniel Snyder would be wise to retain the embattled coach.

Shanahan said he “really didn’t know” before hearing from Fletcher if Fletcher would walk away after this season.

He called Fletcher’s endorsement the ultimate compliment and said, “I’ve never been around a guy like London who prepares for every game like it’s the Super Bowl.”

Shanahan said he believes Fletcher “definitely” is worthy if being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Fletcher said he was 90 percent sure entering the season this would be his final season. He said he could attempt to continue the broadcasting career he already has begun.

Originally an undrafted free agent out of Division III John Carroll, Fletcher spent the first four years of his career with the St. Louis Rams, the next five with Buffalo and has spent the last seven seasons with Washington.

Insider archives: All London Fletcher posts

More on the Redskins and NFL:

Outsider: Cousins and Griffin, running same plays

Wise: Bruce Allen, come out come out wherever you are

Seattle’s Wilson might be the best of NFL’s young star QBs

Redskins deny latest allegations

D.C. Sports Bog: Baylor teammates defend Griffins | Cerrato on the future | More

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

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