Now that the final game of the 2011 season has been played, the Redskins can officially begin to prepare for the 2012 NFL season.
And when it comes to offseason plans and roster composition, the Redskins brass has a history of playing its hand close to the chest. Who stays, who comes and who goes are all a matter of the utmost secrecy.
Except when it comes to their desire to retain linebacker London Fletcher.
Fletcher has been everything the Redskins could have wanted, since joining the team as a free agent in 2007. He has solidified the defense as a captain and playmaker, and has embraced the city in a manner uncommon to the free agency era.
As the clock dwindled down on the final year of his contract, Fletcher expressed interest in staying with the team past this season. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has echoed his interest in retaining the middle linebacker, and now general manager Bruce Allen has offered his endorsement behind getting a deal done.
“We want to, we want to–and he wants to come back,” Allen told me at the Super Bowl Breakfast, commemorating Fletcher’s work on and off the field. “We’re just waiting for the season to finish, and then we’re gonna take care of business.
“He’s a captain. We want our captain back.”
Allen and Fletcher were in Indianapolis to celebrate Fletcher’s reception of the 2011 Bart Starr Award. In discussing Fletcher’s importance to the team, Allen praised Fletcher for his hard work and character.
“He exemplifies everything that’s great about football, and even though this is an award for what he does off the field, his actions on the field are exactly the same,” Allen explained. “He remains the same type of leader in the locker room and off the clock, and we’re obviously very proud of him.”
Since coming to Washington in 2007, Fletcher has never missed a game, and has always registered more than 145 tackles in a season. Allen joined the Redskins’ front office in late 2009, and found Fletcher’s stellar reputation to be spot on–if not a little bit understated.
“The person that you see on film and you admire from afar, is exactly the guy that I’ve met and gotten to know,” he told me. “I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of these Bart Starr Award winners, and they’re a special class of people, and London is right in there among some of the best who have ever played the game.”
And that’s high praise for a very deserving recipient.