London Fletcher: “I Want to Thank the Fans and Beat the Cowboys. What Better way to end it?”

When London Fletcher stepped to the microphone on Wednesday afternoon with a reported “huge announcement” to make, there weren’t many who didn’t know what he was going to say. After sixteen years (7 years in DC) Fletcher will retire at season’s end. Fletcher wanted to make the announcement so that he had a chance to say thank you to the Redskins fans and to beat Dallas one last time.

I wanted to look at this opportunity to let the fans know that this will more than likely be my last season in the National Football League. With this being the final home game, I wanted to definitely get an opportunity to say goodbye to the burgundy and gold faithful. The fans at FedEx have been so gracious to me with my seven years here in Washington. I’m about 99 percent certain that this will be my last season in the National Football League.

I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I can accomplish in the National Football League from a player’s standpoint.  Obviously everybody wants to go out like Ray Lewis with the Super Bowl parade; that would be great to go out, but it wasn’t in the cards for me if this is it. It’s more again about trying to leave a legacy and putting some seeds in place. Hopefully, they’ll grow and fester years down the road and I can be proud of this organization, this franchise that I’ve played for. That’s really how I look at it.

Biblically speaking, the number seven marks completion so you know for me I feel like my work is done here in Washington. For probably about the last four or five years, I’ve always thought about retirement and what do I want to do. I wanted to do some other things in life. In order to do it at the level that I’ve been able to do it, it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifice.

All of the things that I’ve been able to do, I’ve enjoyed doing it. But I’ve missed a lot of other parts of my life. I’ve got three young children, so they’re back in Charlotte so I’m missing parts of their life with them growing up.

I just thought with this being the final home game, this being Dallas Cowboy week, an opportunity to go out with a bang, get the fans riled up, say thank you to them and beat the Cowboys. What better way to end it? What we put on display against Kansas City, that hurt me to my core. So with this, I want our fans to be riled up, I want it to be a special occasion, I want us to get that win. I want to leave with great memories.

Fletcher went on to say that the 2007 season contained his favorite moment of being a Redskins player when the team took the field with only 10 players in honor of their slain teammate Sean Taylor…the team went on to the playoffs after a nice run at the end of the season. The full interview is posted at the bottom of this article.

Kirk Cousins had this to say.

We would love to have him walk off that field for the last time, if it will be his last time, with a victory. We all respect and admire London, and he’s a great leader in our locker room and has shown all of us what it means to conduct ourselves like a professional on and off the field. I think it would mean a lot to London to get a win, but I think it would mean a lot to us as his teammates to send him off with a win.

Perry Riley Added:

It’s definitely a big brother-little brother type of relationship. I have the utmost respect for him; he’s helped me out a lot through the years. I’ve learned on and off the field how to become a pro. He’s a great example of that. I thank him a lot and I owe him a lot. Even though he’s been in the league for 16 years and he knows just about everything, he still tries to learn. He doesn’t act like he knows everything. He’s still trying to grow as a player. He still takes notes every week [and is] watching the film of practice. It’s stuff like that that you only do if you really love the game. He’s one those guys that really loves the game.

Darryl Tapp added:

It’s been unbelievable. I mean I transitioned from a defensive end to an outside linebacker and it’s been awesome to learn from him. The Don Dada. It’s been an awesome experience learning from him, seeing how much knowledge he has about the game and he’s never one to withhold information to make his team better.

Ryan Kerrigan added:

He’s been a blessing. For me to come into the league and he being a leader, especially at the linebacker position and my own position room, I’m really fortunate to have been able to play with him and it’s going to make me play that much hard these last couple of games knowing it’s the last time I’m going out on the field with Fletch.

Brandon Jenkins added:

He’s all about business. He doesn’t beat around the bush. You come in as a rookie linebacker and he won’t treat you as a friend. [He’ll say] ‘This is what I did. Learn from this’ and he’s been more like a father figure. You can’t ask for nothing better than that.

Brain Orakpo added:

Whenever he’s coming out on the blitz or he’s filling in gaps [and] just knocking boys’ heads off, he’s just such a physical presence. He’s a very sound tackler and he makes sure that when he tackles somebody it’s with authority. That’s what he does consistently week in and week out. You can never take that away from him. The way he prepares himself, the way that he knows stuff that’s going to happen before it happens, the way he sees formations and can kind of decipher the different plays they’re going to run, man it’s amazing. London is a special guy that you can’t replace.

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