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The Stalwart

Solid. Dependable. Courageous. Strongly built. Sturdy. Robust. Brave. Valiant.
Firm.Steadfast. Uncompromising.

These words define the meaning of the word 'stalwart’.

And they also define my favorite Washington Redskin, the fierce and passionate London Fletcher.

Forget Brett Favre. If you want to celebrate a player truly worthy of the title NFL Iron Man, London Fletcher is that guy. Favre has accomplished the amazing, nothing can diminish his record-breaking string of games played. But he’s set that incredible record while playing the quarterback position. London Fletcher has played in every single game since entering the NFL in 1998. Tied for 2nd place in most consecutive games played, Fletchers achieved that milestone while playing at arguably the toughest, most physical position on the field, linebacker.

All 5’ 10” of him that is.

London Fletcher is that player that front offices dream about – a GM genius-maker. Undersized, unknown, unheralded, undrafted. In 1998, the St. Louis Rams took a flier on Fletcher as an undrafted rookie. It may have been the best decision made by anyone in the NFL in a decade. Fletcher was from little ol’ John Carroll University, a Division III Jesuit school in Ohio whose most notable graduates included NFL legend Don Shula, Tim Russert, and Josh McDaniels.

If you’d followed Fletcher’s college career, you could see the unmistakable glimmer of that diamond in the rough if you looked hard and long enough. Fletcher set school records at linebacker, for most tackles in a game and in a season. He earned Division III Linebacker of the Year honors. And he was a finalist for the Gagliardi Award, Division III’s Heisman Trophy equivalent in his final season at John Carroll. These things were common knowledge among NFL scouts, but conventional wisdom held Division III laurels and Fletcher’s potential and size in low regard. He went unnoticed and undrafted.

Just as he’d done every step of the way as a young man, London Fletcher was going to have to do it on his own. And that’s exactly what he did. He’s been doing it ever since...

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