by Chuck Carroll

LANDOVER, Md. (CBSDC) — London Fletcher has one game to play before his 16-year career in the National Football League officially comes to a close. But Sunday was the real goodbye.

Fletcher’s teammates were disappointed they couldn’t deliver a home finale win for the man who has served as the heart of Washington’s defense for the past seven seasons. Still, last-minute loss to the Dallas Cowboys aside, he couldn’t have asked for a better swan song.

Redskins and Cowboys fans alike delivered a rousing ovation for Fletcher who was the last player introduced before kickoff. He would receive a warm farewell as he walked off the field for the final time for an encore.

“I couldn’t imagine (next week) being much tougher than this week because this was the last time I get to wear the burgundy and gold in front of the fans here,” Fletcher said in the bowels of FedEx Field, still wearing his uniform 30 minutes after the final whistle. “Next week, it’ll be emotional, but I think this one was more emotional just because it’s the last time I get to play in front of our home crowd.”

Washington travels to face the New York Giants and close a bitterly disappointing defense of their 2012 NFC East crown next week.

Fletcher said he didn’t think about the significance of Sunday during the game, but he was feeling good about things when the Redskins held a nine-point lead in the second half.

The 38-year-old spent the first four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, beginning in 1998. In 2002 he joined the Buffalo Bills for the five-year stint before signing with the Redskins in 2007.

And despite having played more than half of his career elsewhere, Fletcher says he will think of himself as a Redskin for life.

“At the time I came here a lot of people didn’t think that would happen for me,” said Fletcher. “Most people will probably remember me as a Redskin, but I hold (St. Louis and Buffalo) near and dear to me. Burgundy and gold will always be in my heart.”

Follow Chuck Carroll and 106.7 The Fan on Twitter.


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