ASHBURN, Va. – In what many would consider the twilight of his career, this middle linebacker has strung together multiple consecutive
"Really, just God's grace and taking care of myself and being accountable and dependable," Fletcher said of the secret to his longevity after Friday's practice at Redskins Park.
Not many would think to mention Fletcher and Lewis in the same breath. Lewis, a first-round pick out of Miami in the 1996 draft, has been named to 13 Pro Bowls, is a two-time
Fletcher, who was not drafted after graduating from
But there are a few similarities. Both Fletcher and Lewis are 37, born in May of 1975, with Lewis being the elder by just four days. Both have
Like Lewis, Fletcher has been a tackling machine. He led the NFL in tackles last season with a career-best 166, marking the 13th straight year in which he has posted at least 100 tackles.
Lewis has a streak of five consecutive seasons with at least 100 tackles before last year when strained ligaments in a toe forced him to sit out four games. Lewis is set to miss his seventh straight contest after tearing his right triceps in a 31-29 win against the
Fletcher, who has been playing despite a sprained left ankle, empathizes with Lewis' recent spate of injuries.
"Ray's been a great player," Fletcher said. "He's been in the league for 17 years, and we play a very physical position. When you can play the game the way he plays it, you're going to get banged up. It's hard to go through a 16-game season and stay healthy. Some things happen. It's just part of the game."
Fletcher’s streak of 236 consecutive games is tied with
Fletcher's toughness is an inspiration for his teammates.