Reporting Grant Paulsen
ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — London Fletcher says the Redskins’ decision to trade up to have the chance to select Robert Griffin III, and the general direction the team is headed in, both impacted his decision to re-sign with the team last month.
“I thought it was important to come back here,” Fletcher told 106.7 The Fan before taking part in The Leukemia Golf Classic Hosted by Brian Orakpo on Monday at Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Va.
“I like what the Redskins have going on since Coach Shanahan’s come in, the things they’ve been able to do – getting better players on the roster. I was excited about them trading up to get the No. 2 draft pick, saw some of the things they did in free agency and I wanted to continue being a part of it.”
Fletcher had become a free agent prior to re-signing with Washington last month. The NFL’s leading tackler in 2011, the 36 year-old is coming off a career-season that saw him make 166 stops, defend eight passes, intercept two others and force three fumbles.
“I wanted to come back and they expressed a desire to have me come back but sometimes those things take a while,” Fletcher said about his lengthy negotiation with the team, which dragged on for several weeks. “ It was a process that we had to go through.”
Twelve days from turning 37 and playing a position where he’s asked to take on offensive linemen, fullbacks, or ball-carriers on every single play, Fletcher’s at a point in his career where he should be slowing down. But somebody forgot to tell him that.
The 14-year veteran will be embarking on his sixth season with Washington, the most he’s played in any city (after spending four years in St. Louis, five in Buffalo and the last five with the Redskins).
Fletcher has never missed a game, playing in all 224 of the contests his teams have participated in since he entered the league in 1998. He thinks his training habits have allowed him to string together 11 straight 115-tackle seasons.
“My preparation, both on and off the field, my study habits,” Fletcher said, when asked why he’s remained successful for much longer than the majority of his peers. “God blessing me with my talents and taking advantage of it.”
Washington’s unquestioned leader and the captain of the Redskins’ defense, Fletcher has high hopes for his club in 2012.
But that doesn’t mean Fletcher was in the mood to make any predictions about the team’s improvement at Orakpo’s golf event.
“The main thing we need to focus on each day is going out and trying to improve as a football team,” he said. “We’ll just see where the chips fall from there.”