In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins signing free agent linebacker London Fletcher in 2007.
In fact, it began precisely at 12:01 a.m. on Friday morning, March 3, with Fletcher receiving a call from head coach Joe Gibbs and later defensive coordinator Gregg Williams at 3 a.m. welcoming him to the team.
The next day, Fletcher was in a suit fielding questions from reporters.
"This was the place I wanted to be," Fletcher said. "... It's one of the all-time great franchises in the history of the National Football League, and when I look at the roster, the coaches, the potential, I see and know this team is not far from returning to its glory days."
Fletcher was a nine-year NFL veteran at the time who had 146 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks the previous season in Buffalo.
At the time of his signing, Fletcher hadn’t missed a game in his career, which started with the Rams, and had tallied at least 116 tackles every season since 2000. He was also familiar with Williams’ defensive scheme, something that was attractive to the staff, which wanted a quarterback for the defense.
Though Fletcher was 32 at the time of the signing, and though he was only 5-foot-10, he transcended both limitations throughout his career.
In an interview with Redskins.com a few months after he signed, Fletcher was still perplexed by the narrative surrounding his physical “limitations.”
"Size has never been an issue for me," he said. "I am surprised that it is still an issue, actually. When people write or say something about me, that's usually the first thing they mention--regardless of the fact that I have been in the league for nine seasons.
"Not only that, but I am a proven player and I have been a starting middle linebacker for two Super Bowls. The height concern I guess is something to create a story."
Fletcher would go on to become one of the greatest linebackers in Redskins history. He played seven seasons in Washington, the most of any of this three teams, and acquired 615 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 12 interceptions, including five during the 2012 season.
He retired after the 2013 season, never missing a game in his career.
In his 16 years in the league, he finished with 1,380 tackles, 39 sacks and 23 interceptions.