When Ray Lewis announced Wednesday that this will be his last NFL season, a discussion ensued in the Washington Redskins' locker room. The subject of the Baltimore Ravens legend's retirement led to talk about Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.
"Guys were like, you could argue Fletch has had a better career," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "Might not have had all the hype and things like that, but if I'm starting a team, I love Ray Lewis to death, but if I'm starting a team, I'm taking 59 every day of the week."
It's a hard argument to make in most corners. Lewis is a seven-time first-team All-Pro and was selected for the Pro Bowl 13 times during his career. Fletcher has never been a first-team All-Pro and has three Pro Bowls on his resume.
But Hall's point, even as he praised Lewis to the heavens, was that Fletcher hasn't gotten deserved recognition over the years.
"Ray's made it sexy to be a middle linebacker in this National Football League," Hall said. "In a league that's so offensive-driven, it's hard to kind of get that buzz. It took Fletch 12 years to actually get to a Pro Bowl even those his numbers kind of justified he should've been there already."
Fletcher has 1,685 career tackles to Lewis' 1,336, according to NFL.com stats. Fletcher also has the active NFL record for consecutive games played at 240. Fletcher (1999 St. Louis Rams) and Lewis (2000 Ravens) were both starting linebackers on Super Bowl-champion teams.
On Thursday, Fletcher was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for December. That he has managed to maintain a high level of play despite a lingering left ankle injury did not come as a surprise to Hall.
"I don't think if you knew he had an ankle injury, nobody would know if it wasn't reported on the injury report," Hall said. "That's just the kind of competitor he is, man. He kind of battles through in practice every day and somehow in the game he looks a hundred percent fresh."
• Kory Lichtensteiger did not practice again Thursday, and the possibility remains that the Redskins won't have the left guard for Sunday's NFC wild card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Lichtensteiger, who sprained his left ankle in the regular-season finale, reported feeling better than Wednesday.
"I'm feeling much better today," Lichtensteiger said. "It seriously is getting better every day. It's just kind of one of those things that it's hard to rush it. You don't want to push it too hard and have a setback. I'm kind of doing what I can at this point."
• Rookie third-round pick Josh LeRibeus replaced Lichtensteiger against the Dallas Cowboys, so he figures to start Sunday vs. Seattle if the veteran cannot play. But Maurice Hurt, who filled in when Lichtensteiger tore the ACL, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his right knee last season, could also get the call.
• Cornerback D.J. Johnson (left knee) did not practice. His absence Sunday would be mitigated as long as Cedric Griffin is ready to go after a four-game suspension.
"Hopefully we can work him back into the mix," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said of Griffin.
• Safety DeJon Gomes was a limited participant in practice. He missed the Cowboys game with a second-degree MCL sprain in his left knee.
• Kirk Cousins, who was out Wednesday with the flu, participated fully in practice.
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