Friday, January 29, 2010
Pro Bowl Watch: London Fletcher
By Matt Mosley
In case you missed it, the NFC East (namely the Cowboys and Eagles) has taken over the NFC Pro Bowl roster. We've mentioned several times the fact that more players than ever seem to be dropping out of Sunday's game in South Florida, but let's take a moment to focus on a player who truly appreciates his spot on the roster.
After being overlooked for years, London Fletcher is finally going to the Pro Bowl.
The fact that Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher needed the Saints' Jonathan Vilma to miss the Pro Bowl isn't significant in the whole scheme of things. At age 34, Fletcher probably should have played in five or six Pro Bowls by now but for whatever reason he's come up short in the voting process.
In '09, Fletcher was credited for 142 tackles (the Redskins say he had 172), which ranked second in the league behind the 49ers' Patrick Willis. It didn't help Fletcher's cause that he played on one of the worst teams in the league, but you never saw him back down. His streak of playing in 192 consecutive games is second only to Brett Favre. The 5-foot-10, 245-pound linebacker from Division III John Carroll has always been an underdog, but that hasn't kept him from being one of the most productive players in the league.
He admitted to being incredibly nervous in the final moments of the NFC Championship Game because his Pro Bowl ticket was hanging in the balance. Now, he's in the process of trying to secure tickets for family and friends who never gave up on him making it to the NFL's all-star game.
"I'm thinking, 'Man, here I am in my 12th year. Is it ever going to happen for me?' When it finally became a reality, yeah, it was a big relief. I didn't sleep much at all last night," Fletcher told reporters via conference call this week. "The Pro Bowl is something they have all been waiting for. They've gone to two Super Bowls with me. But now, finally getting the Pro Bowl is something that they've also been looking forward to."
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb told reporters in South Florida that he was thrilled for Fletcher, but he's not cutting him any slack when it comes to "rookie" hazing. He indicated that Fletcher would soon have some large tabs at the team hotel's pool bar.
And something tells me that Fletcher won't hesitate in picking up the check. He's long overdue.