January 25, 2010

London Fletcher Finally Makes the Pro Bowl After a 12-Year Wait

As Garret Hartley's game-winning in overtime kick split the uprights, everyone in New Orleans went berserk.

Over in Washington DC, so did a certain middle linebacker.

As the Saints dramatically advanced to the Super Bowl over the Vikings yesterday, it ensured that New Orleans' Pro Bowl LB Jonathan Vilma will not be playing in the Pro Bowl, leaving his spot open for the Redskins' very own London Fletcher.

Say what you will about the farce that is the Pro Bowl this year, but Fletcher couldn't care less. After waiting for 12 years to make his first Pro Bowl, the venerable middle linebacker is on the NFC roster.

"I'm thinking, 'Man, here I am in my 12th year. Is it ever going to happen for me?' When it finally became a reality, yeah, it was a big relief," he said.

Fletcher's excitement is truly justified. He has never had less 119 tackles since 2000, and is a leader wherever he goes. He's respected by everyone in the NFL and is one of the finalists for this year's Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Fletcher is a classic run-plugging middle linebacker with a big heart. His loyalty and toughness have been recognized by a select few, but as the years have passed more people are beginning to take notice as to how good Fletcher is.

Peter King named him to his All-Decade team right next to Ray Lewis. And now Fletcher has reached the Pro Bowl.

Fletcher has wanted this for a long time, and the fact that he backed into a spot on the roster doesn't bother him in the least. "At the end of the day, when you write your article, you're going to call me a Pro Bowler, right?" he asked.

Indeed we are.

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