As the clock ticks down to the start of free agency, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher sat down with Sirius XM NFL Radio hosts Alex Marvez and Bill Polian to discuss his plans for next season.
While it has been widely circulated that the Redskins wish to retain their captain and he has an interest in returning, he also left open the possibility of his departure. If he remains unsigned at the start of free agency on March 13, he is free to pursue any options.
Regardless of where he goes, he said that he welcomes to opportunity to be a mentor to the next generation of teammates. For him, it’s a natural progression as a professional that was instilled at him early in his career:
“The one thing I learned, especially when I first came into the league, was that I had some great veteran guys that taught me the game, taught me how to study, and y’know, taught me how to be a professional.”
While it’s assumed that all NFL veterans provide that cliche “veteran presence,” Fletcher discussed a critical disconnect between that notion and reality. In his experience, it’s a flaw that shows up on film:
“As I look around the NFL…particularly at the quarterback position–and you ask, ‘Well, why hasn’t that quarterback really excelled?’ Particularly with like a rookie quarterback that’s thrown into the fire right away? All of that is because they don’t have some veteran guy teach them how to be a pro, and teach them the game of football.”
One player that testified to Fletcher’s influence since he arrived in Washington, was 2011 rookie stud Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan credited his coaches and Brian Orakpo with getting him up to speed for his position, but praised Fletcher for his preparation and leadership.
Even at age 36, Fletcher knows that he can still contribute on the field, but knows that his influence is measured through his leadership in the locker room as well:
For me, I enjoy that aspect of it. These young guys that I’ve played with throughout my career, I’ve always tried to help them to become better pros and better men.
No doubt that Fletcher’s Redskins teammates will be pulling for his return in 2012 and beyond.