London Fletcher tweeted the good news Friday evening to relieved Washington Redskins fans that he has re-signed with the team.
Excited about returning to the Skins! The support I've received from the fans didn't go unnoticed!— London Fletcher (@LFletcher59) April 13, 2012
The process to re-sign Fletcher caused anxious moments for Redskins fans, but we saw it as the normal push-pull of contract talks with a veteran free agent where, perhaps, both sides wanted to test the market for his services. Fletcher is under-appreciated by the league. He is highly regarded as a man and player, but recognition of his skills and comes late in his career.
Fletcher made the 2010 and 2011 Pro Bowl and appeared in the 2012 Pro Bowl as an alternate. He has consistently ranked at or near the top of the league in total tackles since joining the league as an undrafted rookie out of John Carroll in 1999. From his standpoint, this was exactly the time to test interest from other teams, while I was in stark fear that the LB-challenged Eagles would snap him up.
Fletcher earned a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams that year and appeared in his second Super Bowl with that team the next season. Then, the Rams began their franchise tailspin and Fletcher found himself with Gregg Williams and the woebegone Buffalo Bills in 2002. In 2003, the Bill jumped from 15th to 2nd in defensive yards allowed.
Williams brought Fletcher to Washington in 2007 and it has been a happy marriage every since. Fletcher is the mobile sparkplug of Washington's defense. He sets the plays and positions and often covers the errors of other players while maintaining his ranking at the leagues top tackler. But he is 37 years old and his reputation is hurt by the won-loss record of his teams since leaving the Rams.
That may actually have been advantage to Washington. No one loves Fletcher as much as the Redskins love him. Rex Grossman returned to Washington to help groom Robert Griffin III (or Andrew Luck), he says. That scares the bejebbus out of me. I want RG3 and all of the young Redskins to be exposed to London Fletcher-Baker. That wish has been granted.