One matchup to look for in this Sunday’s matchup, will be Redskins linebacker London Fletcher against Bills running back Fred Jackson. Not only are they the key to their respective units’ success, but they’re also old friends and Division III college-mates.
Via Rodney McKissic of The Buffalo News, Fletcher took Jackson under his wing during their mutual time in Buffalo:
Fletcher was a mentor to Jackson when he was signed to the Bills’ practice squad in 2006.
“When I got my first start the first guy I played against was London Fletcher. I’ve always had a great amount of respect for him being he’s a Division III player as well. He was one of the guys I used to talk to a lot when I first got here.”“I thought Fred did a good job,” Fletcher said. “He was just on the scout team when I was there. I think maybe my last year he was on the active roster. I’m not sure how many carries he actually got, but he did a good job of giving us great looks in practice.”
While Fletcher is a genuinely good guy, what he saw in Jackson was likely the same fire that he saw burning in himself. Fletcher, a graduate of John Carroll University in Ohio, and Jackson, a graduate of Coe College in Iowa, share a Division III collegiate athletics background. After 14 plus season in the NFL, Fletcher understands the fire that it takes to get respect at the professional level:
“When you come into the league as a Division III player you come in with a chip on your shoulder knowing that they’re always trying to replace you, and they don’t think you’re good enough,” Fletcher said. “They don’t really know the full story of why you may have ended up at the level that you played at. There’s always a reason why the Division III players defiantly play with a chip on their shoulder.”
And that’s exactly what Fletcher has been able to do throughout his career. Few linebackers in the modern era have played as long or as consistently as Fletcher, and yet he’s currently playing for his third franchise. Everywhere he’s gone, the chip on his shoulder has been a constant companion.
Watch out for this battle of wills between familiar foes, as they take the field in Toronto this Sunday.