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A special bonus article this week at the New York Times, as I took a look at the incredible career of London Fletcher.

On Sunday, Fletcher, a Washington captain, will play in his 256th straight game, the third-longest streak in N.F.L. history for a player who was not a kicker, behind only Brett Favre’s 299 games and Jim Marshall’s 282.

Having somehow survived for 16 seasons without sustaining any kind of disabling injury, all while playing amid the chaos and attrition rates that are parts of an inside linebacker’s life, Fletcher has said he plans to call it quits after Sunday’s game while he is still ahead.

By the end of this week, though, he was hedging a bit, not quite sure he was truly ready to walk away.

Five weeks ago, Fletcher moved ahead of Eugene Robinson, a safety for 16 seasons, and became the career leader in games played by an undrafted defensive player. Earlier this season, he broke Derrick Brooks’s record of 208 consecutive starts at linebacker. On Sunday, Fletcher will start his 216th consecutive game. He has, in effect, dodged a million bullets in a game that is tough for any player to endure physically.

You can read the full article here. In addition, related readings on Fletcher can be found here and here.

  • Ty

    It is amazing how long Fletcher has been able to play, at such a high level (he fell off the last 2 seasons, though). Inside LBs, even great ones, don’t last too long, yet Fletcher, who wasn’t the biggest or fastest, was able to maintain a high level of play for well over a decade. He probably won’t make the hall of fame (unless it is part of the veteran’s committee), but he is pretty borderline.

    • Richie

      If he had an identical career, but instead was a first round pick – he’d probably be a HOFer.