London Fletcher's streak of 231 regular-season NFL games played could be in jeopardy Sunday. The Washington Redskins middle linebacker missed Wednesday's practice with balance problems to go with a sore right hamstring suffered in last Sunday's loss to the New York Giants.
Fletcher holds the active record for consecutive games played. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went as far as to say that because of the streak, which dates to Sept. 6, 1998, he wasn't preparing for the Redskins without Fletcher.
But the balance problems led to Fletcher needing to see an independent neurologist and team doctor Anthony Casolaro.
"I'm hoping it's nothing very serious, but that's why he's talking to Dr. Casolaro and a neurologist to find out why he's having a little problem with his balance," coach Mike Shanahan said.
Shanahan made it clear that the balance issues were separate from the hamstring injury.
Fletcher declined to comment while walking off the field following practice.
"I'll talk to y'all later," he said. "I did what I could."
Fletcher, 37, could be replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Lorenzo Alexander or rookie fourth-round pick Keenan Robinson. Alexander got most of the snaps Sunday after Fletcher left the game.
Asked if he was concerned about Fletcher being out for the Steelers game, Shanahan deferred comment until Thursday.
"Let's get a review from a doctor, see what they have to say," he said. "We got two great guys in there today looking at him. I'll give you more to know tomorrow."
Fletcher leads the Redskins with 59 combined tackles. He was re-signed in the offseason to a two-year deal.
Griffin focused on football
When Robert Griffin III reported to his first NFL training camp in late July, he and his representatives at Creative Artists Agency said he was finished with marketing opportunities until after his rookie season. On Tuesday, however, Griffin spent a portion of his off day doing a series of media interviews as part of some promotional work.
The publisher of a new video game is auctioning a painting featuring Griffin's likeness. According to a website Griffin published on his Twitter account Tuesday, the painting was created to "celebrate the upcoming launch" of the video game, with proceeds going to Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to get young people engaged in the political process.
As Griffin approaches the halfway point of the season as a front-runner for rookie of the year, he said his openness to marketing projects during the season is the same as it was in July and he remains focused on football.
"You try to do things you feel are productive for this community," Griffin said. "If you feel it's a good cause, you go ahead and do that, but for the most part I've tried to stay focused on football only. I don't do very much off the field. The thing that I did the other day was strictly about bringing awareness to the vote and the election, but for the most part you stay away."
Garcon has plantar plate tear
A foot specialist diagnosed receiver Pierre Garcon with a plantar plate tear in his right foot Wednesday, a source said. His status will continue to be determined on a weekly basis
The plantar plate is a soft tissue structure that connects the base of the toe and the metatarsal, the long bone that goes to the toe. It cushions the bottom of the metatarsal head, which is why the tear causes Garcon significant pain when he pushes off and sprints.
There is no specific timetable for Garcon's return, although it could make sense to try to bring him back after the bye week. The Redskins return from the week off Nov. 18, and five of their final seven games are against NFC East opponents.
"It could very well happen that way, but ... we don't know what's going to happen with Pierre," Shanahan said. "I'm taking this day-by-day, listen to the doctors, see what they recommend, and obviously I'm not going to force somebody to play if the doctors don't think he is ready or ... Pierre doesn't feel like he's ready."
The decision to send Garcon to see Dr. Robert B. Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., was not prompted by a setback. The foot injury just was not getting any better.
"He was sore when I talked to him [Tuesday]," Shanahan said. "He said it hadn't improved at all. He went swimming, they put him in a pool, and it didn't even improve in that area. Just for peace of mind I said, 'Hey, why don't you go talk to a specialist?' ... You get a chance to go one-on-one and see what he says and hopefully something positive comes out of it."
Cooley back to work
Tight end Chris Cooley went back to practice and back to work Wednesday, two days after rejoining the Redskins following Davis' season-ending Achilles injury. He talked about waking up as excited as a child, but amid his smiles he was concentrated.
"I'm here an hour and it's a normal day of work, getting ready to play a huge game," he said. "It's funny. You just fall into a normal day of work."
Cooley got his old locker back from backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, who offered it without reservation.
"Kirk Cousins is the nicest guy in the world, and he said, 'I want to give you your locker back' and he moved his stuff," Cooley said.
Safety Brandon Meriweather (right knee) and cornerback David Jones (Achilles) were limited at practice Wednesday. ... Tight end Fred Davis' surgery was performed at 12:45 p.m. by Anderson, but Shanahan said later in the afternoon that he had not yet spoken with the doctor to find out the results.
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