Shanahan on London Fletcher: If you’re thinking retirement, you’re probably retiring

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Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said recently that he’s still thinking about whether or not he wants to return for a 16th season.

That alone is enough to leave coach Mike Shanahan thinking that he’s going to need to find a new linebacker for the 2013 season. Shanahan recently told the Redskins website that he doesn’t know what Fletcher will do, but that his experience is that players who entertain notions of retirement are likely to be heading into another line of work.

“I really don’t know. One thing you have to do is, you’ve got to have a mindset that there’s no way you’re going to retire,” Shanahan said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “Because if you’re thinking about retirement, you’re not really sure  — at least when I look at my previous years, and you look back at guys — if you’re thinking about retiring, you’re probably already retired.”

In case you forgot, Shanahan never coached Brett Favre. There are plenty of other examples of players who contemplate retirement before deciding to fully commit themselves to another  year, although you can’t blame Shanahan and the team for coming up with plans for life without Fletcher.

“London’s the type of guy that you don’t even want to ask him a question,” Shanahan said. “Because his mindset, he’s a warrior, how hard he’s played and what he’s done for this organization.  But all those those things, you’ve got to have a game plan for if he does come back, if he doesn’t come back. You’re taking a look at your financial responsibilities, if you do have the hit that we may take. You just don’t know. So we’ve got a game plan for all scenarios, but you always hope that your great players keep on playing at a high level.”

With the Redskins also trying to secure the return of linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, you’d imagine they’d like to know Fletcher’s answer sooner rather than later.

30 responses to “Shanahan on London Fletcher: If you’re thinking retirement, you’re probably retiring

  1. One of the most underrated players of ALL TIME. I remember him in Buffalo, guy was a monster.

    All the best to him if he decides to hang it up. He will be remembered as one of the greats.

  2. The redskins were not that worried last year when they didn’t sign him in Free Agency until the last minute, letting Fletcher test free agency. Maybe Shanny should consider retirement, the game has passed him by.

  3. Shanny, from a Skins fat…shut up! Fletcher is one of the best players on the team and an almost irreplaceable leader and role model for younger players. You should be begging him not to retire. There are very very few players like London.

  4. London Flecther should tell the media that he will be playing his last year and maybe they can RIGGED the super bowl win for him like they did to Ray Lewis

  5. Come on, you can’t “be begging him not to retire” and expect him to come back and play at a high level if he isn’t willing or physically able to do so.

    I hope he does come back, but only if he does because he’s mentally and physically ready to play the kind of football we’re used to seeing.

  6. With the salary cap situation it is understandable why Shanahan is saying this. A coach has to know what he has, before going out and finding what he needs. The Skins’ cap situation is even muddier than most because of the penalty.
    Plain talk? London, I gotta know, now!

  7. Fletcher would be a major loss to our defense and quite honestly, I think his absense would show Haslett’s defence for what it is.

  8. 117 tackles under Ray Lewis from being the official all-time NFL tackles leader. I sure hope he sticks around for one more year.

    And that’s playing in a lot less games than Lewis.
    Not to mention London doesn’t use a stripper pole in his pregame introduction like Ray Ray.

  9. How many Defensive MVPs has Fletcher won? How many Superbowl teams has he played on?……….Ray Lewis was the best. Fletcher is highly underrated but he didn’t have the impact Ray did.

  10. braddavery says:
    Mar 1, 2013 1:06 PM
    117 tackles under Ray Lewis from being the official all-time NFL tackles leader. I sure hope he sticks around for one more year.


    Interesting. NFL Total access last night had London Fletcher with 200 more tackles. 1900 to 1700

  11. If he does come back, maybe Coach can play him every down, both ways and on special teams until he’s injured and is forced into retirement? Shanny is the Player Killer.

  12. Shanahan’s arrogance will surely guide him to the door, in favor of media overhyped younger players that will ultimately fail under pressure. Sound familar?

  13. braddavery says: Mar 1, 2013 1:06 PM

    117 tackles under Ray Lewis from being the official all-time NFL tackles leader. I sure hope he sticks around for one more year.
    GI Joe says: the most fun part about that statistic is that it’s wrong.

    Fletcher has 162 more individual tackles than Lewis, and 349 more total tackles. While teams kept their own records, the NFL did not start recording tackle numbers until 2001, and ESPN only started in 1996, so while more recent players have established tackling records, the all-time tackle leader will probably never be known. However, Fletcher probably ranks about seventh all-time, though still behind recorded players like Junior Seau, Derrick Brooks, and Jessie Tuggle. Ray Lewis is probably eight or ninth on the list, give-or-take Mike Singletary and Jack Lambert.

  14. @ bmorewhyless:
    Tackles. LF 1,929. RL 1,766
    Sacks. 37. 35
    Forced fum. 19. 18
    Int.s. 23. 29
    Safeties. 2. 1
    SB’s. 1. 2
    As far as the MVP (popularity) contest/impact, RL has played on a better team. Overall, though I’d say they were neck and neck as players!!

  15. Please Shanahan. If you are a football player, you’d better start thinking about retirement when you first sign to an NFL team. When you are a football player over 30, you’d better start thining about it every year. It is an inevitability with players far sooner than it is for coaches.

    Why do they think about it? It isn’t football, but the work up to get to the football. The drills they already know but have to go through, the coaching changes and having to prove themselves yet again to yet another coach (Bills DE Kelsay). Much to Iverson’s Chagrin, practice. It isn’t the game, but the other stuff. And when you throw in rehabbing it makes it worse. Respectful players tell their coaches before the draft, respectful coaches give older players days off and lighter practices.

  16. pnut87 says:
    Mar 1, 2013 12:38 PM
    Te’o to the Redskins?

    I’ve had this thought myself, but only if he’s still available in the 3rd or even the 4th round. Ultimately, I don’t think it happens and Te’o is gone late first. His draft stock is dropping for strange reasons: not due to lack of physical ability; not due to the typical character issue of being a d-bag; but for reasons I think are probably blown out of proportion and easily surmountable, but I digress.

    Washington doesn’t have a first round pick this year (at least right now), and even if they did, their needs are far more glaring outside of the LB spot (cornerback, IMO, being by far their BIGGEST need).

  17. Fletcher has played with the Bills and the Redskins for his entire career. I wouldn’t really call that hitting the lottery as far as super bowls go.

    And Ray Lewis is just more recognized, that’s why he gets the Defensive MVPs. Mostly because he’s always vocal and an entertaining guy.

    Fletcher is a general on top of his talent. I’d take Fletch any day of the week.

  18. Teo is being questioned because he’s not an ideal middle linebacker. He’s just too slow and has no explosion from a 2 point stance.

    There is no question about his instincts and power though.

  19. walter0247 says: Mar 1, 2013 8:42 PM

    Fletcher has played with the Bills and the Redskins for his entire career. I wouldn’t really call that hitting the lottery as far as super bowls go.
    I like the rest of what you said, but Fletcher has one ring and two NFC championships with the Rams.

  20. Fletch is a first ballot HOF player. His whole career with the exception of maybe 2 years he lead mediocre defenses to top 10 status in the NFL. He didn’t get to the pro bowl many times, not because of his productivity but because he wasn’t a popular.

    At some point the Redskins have to prepare as if he were to retire. Fletch is 38-39ish. I believe he can give the Skins another year but the team still will have to prepare as if he couldn’t play every game. The coach is mearly stating that. He is the personnel guy and his job is to ensure the entire team is ready.

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