The Washington Times - November 23, 2013, 01:44PM

Redskins veteran middle linebacker London Fletcher said this week he has no regrets about returning for a 16th NFL season, but has not yet made up his mind about returning for another.

Fletcher appeared in the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year after a 2012 where he shook off a rough start and was again playing at a high level by the end as Washington went on a seven-game win streak to win the NFC East and reach the playoffs.


That hasn’t materialized again this season. The Redskins are scuffling through a 3-7 season with a defense, led by Fletcher, that is allowing 390 yards per game and ranked 28th out of 32 NFL teams. A postseason return is almost certainly out of the question. 

“I don’t have any regrets because I still think there was some development I needed to do with some of the younger guys,” Fletcher said on Wednesday. “Whether it was continue to help [linebacker] Perry [Riley] become the player that I know he can be. Just things like that. So I don’t have any regrets. And I felt like this team could do something special. When you look at what we were able to do last year and what our expectations were, things like that.”

Numbers aren’t everything and stats can be skewed by a variety of factors. But Fletcher has just 69 combined tackles this season. He probably won’t come close the 139 he posted in 2012. Fletcher also had five interceptions, three sacks and a forced fumble last season. This year he has yet to intercept a pass. He does have a forced fumble and two sacks.

At 38, questions about a return are inevitable. Fletcher is already an extreme outlier at his position at that age. So what, exactly, goes into the decision on whether to come back for one more?  

“It’s more about…certain plays or the way you approach practice, the way you approach meetings, things like that,” Fletcher said. “A lot of the guys I’ve talked to when they were end of their career or whatever, you ask the guy and they’d be like ‘Man, I’m done.’ And it wasn’t necessarily from a physical standpoint. This game is tough mentally. It’s an extremely tough game from a mental standpoint. It’s mentally demanding, each week is a new grind. You celebrate a win for one day, two days. You agonize over a loss for four or five days. And that wears on you. You’ve gotta be a tough person to last in this business for a long time.”