Fletcher still inspiring teammates, coaches

Fletcher still inspiring teammates, coaches
June 8, 2013, 10:15 am
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Late in Thursday’s OTA practice, London Fletcher made a diving interception of a short Kirk Cousins pass. He got up and did a little celebratory dance much to the delight of his defensive teammates.

“Anytime you’ve been practicing – for two weeks and it’s more of a conditioning [time], and the next three weeks the offense and defense is on the field, and this is the third week of a four-week time set – you get these guys very competitive,” said Mike Shanahan later, speaking of Fletcher’s celebration.

But Fletcher may have had other reasons to dance besides competitive team spirit. Apparently he called the pick in advance. Let Cousins tell the story:

“We threw a touchdown pass on him in seven on seven yesterday [Wednesday] where he [Fletcher] had the guy covered pretty well but it was completed. He was still very frustrated about that. He walked by me in the locker room just before we came out here and he goes, 'I'm going to pick you off today.' And I shook my head and I go, alright, alright. And, sure enough, he picks me off.”

Cousins was amazed by Fletcher’s continued ability to get it done at his age.

“Obviously he knows what he's doing,” said the second-year quarterback, who was 10 years old when Fletcher made his NFL debut in 1998. “Whether or not he was lucky or he actually knew what was going to happen the fact of the matter is that he did pick me off.”

Shanahan doesn’t like his quarterbacks to throw interceptions, even in June, but he was glad to see Fletcher having a good time.

“I like guys excited, especially when you’re 38 years old,” he said.

Most players in Fletcher’s position would not have been out on the field to make that interception. He is going into his 16th NFL season and he had offseason surgery on his ankle and elbow. Shanahan told him that he could sit out OTAs, but Fletcher said he thought he needed the work.

Fletcher’s work ethic is not lost on his teammates.

“He's one of the best players on this football team, and one of the best leaders on this team and we're lucky to have him back for another year,” said Cousins.

“If we've got any young guys thinking about not practicing and trying to get out of practice, you look at old man Fletcher and see what he's out there doing,” said linebacker Brian Orakpo. “It's unbelievable how he's out here in OTAs, which are voluntary--people forget that--and he's just had surgery and he's still out here giving 100 percent effort and not missing a play. I mean, it just shows the type of leadership he has.”