Remind London Fletcher that he went undrafted. Tell him he is too small to compete at linebacker in the NFL. Say that being a Division III superstar in college at John Carroll is meaningless in terms of his NFL prospects, especially when he originally went to primarily play basketball. Even mention that he has no business playing at a Pro Bowl level at age thirty seven. Go on, tell him, because you’ll just be wasting your breath. The haters have never bothered Fletcher, as he has overcome all obstacles en route to being one of the most respected players in the National Football League.
London Fletcher is a flat out class-act both on and off the field. On the gridiron, he is a Super Bowl Champion, member of the All Pro team, three time Pro Bowler, and NFL tackling machine with almost 2,000 in his career. Just as impressive however, Fletcher was also recognized last year as the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award winner, and is a four time Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee.
One reason the thirty seven year old Fletcher believes he won the award, as well as performing at such a high level in his fifteenth season, is his Faith. Fletcher is a born again Christian, and credits God as the reason he has been so blessed to play at a high level for so many years in the NFL. Shortly after winning the award in February, Fletcher told ProPlayerInsiders about a day that changed his life.
“It was during training camp of 2004 when I surrendered to Christ and I said ‘Here I am, Lord, take me.’ And it was like the light was lifted on me instantly, that joy and peace I was looking for came right away,” Fletcher said. “I don’t play the game with a great anger and rage. My game has actually gotten better, I think. The reason being is because I have Christ in my life and all the clutter, the distractions and all the other different problems I was walking around with are no longer a part of my life.”
Right around that same time as Fletcher’s conversion to Christianity, he started his current charity foundation known as London’s Bridge. According to the foundation website, “The London’s Bridge foundation is building bridges to our future by addressing the inequities facing underprivileged and underrepresented children. Through our mentoring and charitable giving programs we teach boys and girls essential life skills and lessons. London’s Bridge builds standards of education, leadership, teamwork, health and fitness while instilling values of good citizenship and public service.” The London’s Bridge foundation has targets in four main cities across the nation:
Charlotte, North Carolina
Buffalo, New York
“The focus on young children is near and dear to my heart,” Fletcher said. “I felt like it was my responsibility to give back to the community.”
“It’s not a failure if you don’t make it; it’s a failure if you don’t try. Stay firm … and reach for your goals.”
It should be no surprise as well that Fletcher is close to his entire family. This showed before the start of the 2006 season, when he adopted “Baker” to his last name to honor his late grandmother on his jersey. Currently London and his high school sweetheart Charne have three children; two daughters, Paige and Brooke, and a son, Steele.
In what has become just another accolade to add to his Canton resume, Fletcher has played in every single game of his NFL career. That stretches 236 consecutive games, including 187 starts. He also is just one of three players in the NFL to record over 20 career interceptions and 30 career sacks. Not bad for a kid from Cleveland who once felt the need to walk around looking angry in order to look tough. Not bad at all.
You can follow London Fletcher on Twitter at @LFletcher59