There are only a handful of players in the NFL's 97-year history to play in more than 250 consecutive games.
Former Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher is among that list, appearing in 256 contests over the course of his distinguished 16-year career.
After two faces-- Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher -- of the middle linebacker position during the early-to-mid 2000's were admitted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend (along with former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard), Fletcher could be in line to reach Canton, Ohio, because of similar achievements, as theorized in a recent Talk of Fame article.
The Cleveland native -- like Lewis -- has over 2,000 tackles recorded to his name and has appeared in two Super Bowls, raising the Lombardi Trophy with the St. Louis Rams in the 34th rendition of the NFL's biggest game as a defensive member of "the greatest show on turf."
However, what makes Fletcher an intriguing case for the NFL's most selective fraternity is his continuous story from undrafted free agent to becoming a bonafide star and the anchor of the Redskins defense from 2007 up to his retirement in 2013.
His journey began at Division-III John Carroll University, just a half hour away from the streets of downtown Cleveland, where he was named national linebacker of the year as a senior. His success at the collegiate level gave him an opportunity, albeit small, to play professionally, where he became just one of two rookies to make the 1998 Rams as an undersized 5-foot-10 middle linebacker.
Of course, after Fletcher stepped onto the field for the first time against the New Orleans Saints as rookie, he never looked back. In the Rams' Super Bowl season, the four-time Pro Bowler led the team with 138 tackles, an accomplishment he'd earn in six of his seven seasons with the Redskins.
Again, it's the obstacles that the Cleveland native had to overcome that more than anything justify his case to have a bronze bust alongside the game's greats. Fletcher serves as a great example to break down just how challenging it is to enter the NFL, let alone become a Hall of Fame caliber player. He brought the same level of intensity and passion to each game in his 16 seasons because he wasn't handed an easy opportunity to succeed in this league. He had to earn it.
"I think about it because now I'm eligible for it," Fletcher told KSDK.com."It's a situation where I know my performance was Hall of Fame worthy. I know what I accomplished on the football field was Hall of Fame worthy. I know I'll be a Hall of Famer, so it's not a situation of if it's going to happen, it's just a matter of when other people will recognize me and put me in the Hall of Fame."