The Washington Redskins have not had a 10 win season since and they went out this offseason, with aggression, to try to change that. After acquiring the second overall pick in the draft and the right to draft a franchise quarterback, the ‘Skins then brought in two new wide receivers, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, to catch passes from Robert Griffin III. Those moves to revamp the offense will get a lot of the headlines but just as important was the ‘Skins coming to an agreement with linebacker London Fletcher and keeping him in the nation’s capitol for perhaps the remainder of his career. Not only is Fletcher coming off a season where he led the NFL in tackles, but he is also the captain of the defense and is one of the most indispensable players on the roster. It may not happen this year but Washington looks like they are headed in the right direction and a 10 win season no longer seems like a fairy tale.
London Fletcher joined ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. on Inside the Locker Room to talk about Junior Seau’s death, why it took so long for the Redskins and him to come to a contract agreement, how he feels about what the team did this offseason with adding Robert Griffin III and what he thinks about his former coach Gregg Williams being involved in the Saints bounty scandal.
On the passing of Junior Seau:
“I think with Junior’s situation, he puts a face to the issue that we’ve had. There’s been some guys in the past that have committed suicide, Andre Waters being one of them, Dave Duerson a couple of years back but when you think of Junior Seau who is an iconic figure in the National Football League, he has brought this problem to a greater light. We don’t know if it was physical or mental or emotional or whatever the case was Junior was dealing with and we can only speculate but whatever the case may be, there needs to be a coping mechanism in place for the individuals when they leave the game. Doc you mentioned the high school or collegiate player leaving the game and having somebody they can talk to about the situation and being able to move forward in life and say ‘yeah I didn’t make it to the NFL or if I did make it and only had a short career that’s okay. I still have a lot of life to live.”
On why there was a delay in getting a new contract done this offseason:
“The cap situation played a part in my deal somewhat because any time you take a 36 million dollar hit, 18 million this year and another 18 million next year then it comes into effect, especially more for a player like myself because you’re not going to have the ability to prorate a signing bonus over five years like any other guy. I’ll be 37 this year so the likelihood of me playing another five years are slim. At the end of the day, with the Redskins, dating back to in the middle of the season, Coach Shanahan brought me into the office unsolicited and said ‘hey London I want you to be a part of this football team as long as you want to be a part of this football team.’ Dan Snyder reiterated this to me after the Dallas home game during the season so this has been a process and they were all mentioning this and wanted me to be a part of the Redskins moving forward well into last year during the season so it was just a process that had to take place and when their initial offer came into play it wasn’t a situation where I felt like they low-balled me at all. It was just a little process we had to get through.”
On the excitement surrounding the team after drafting Robert Griffin III:
“My juices definitely got flowing when I saw they were able to acquire the number two pick overall. As we all know as Redskins fans in this city and all around the country, have been dying and waiting for a franchise quarterback around here since the early 90’s. With the opportunity to put ourselves in position to get Robert is going to be great. The buzz and the excitement around here is off the charts and I wanted to be a part of that. That was important and that played a part of me resigning with the Redskins and some of the pieces they were able to put into place and also I like our defense and I like the things we will be able to accomplish going forward.”
What he thinks of Gregg Williams’ involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal:
“Gregg is a great friend of mine and I’m sad that he has been banned from the NFL for this year. It’s very unfortunate all the things that took place in New Orleans and as you hear some of the things that took place I think what happened is they just got overzealous with what was going on in their Saturday night meetings. There’s a lot of testosterone in those locker rooms but the guys took it, something that has taken place in the NFL for years, they just took it to a whole ‘nother level. Roger Goodell had to send a message, a strong message that this won’t be tolerated and he’s trying to change a culture and the only way to do that is to send harsh messages. Unfortunately for Jonathan Vilma, he is the poster child so to speak for the punishment. A year suspension is extremely harsh but Roger needed to send a message.”