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London Fletcher '99 percent certain' to retire from NFL

Perhaps no player in NFL history better represents the concept of "going out on his own terms" than Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.

The 16-year veteran announced Wednesday that he's "99 percent certain" this will be his last season.

Fletcher is best known as one of four players in NFL history to play in 250 consecutive games, an iron-man list littered with kickers, punters and quarterbacks. It's a testament to his physical and mental toughness that he joined their ranks at the position that involves the most impact hits in football.

Although Fletcher was named Division III linebacker of the year at John Carroll University, NFL teams overlooked the 5-foot-10 small-school star in the 1998 NFL Draft. He went on to become one of the greatest undrafted players in NFL history, starring at middle linebacker on the 1999 and 2001 St. Louis RamsSuper Bowl teams.

It's always a challenge to compile a reliable account of career tackles because NFL teams fudge the numbers, but Fletcher generally is listed in the top-six of all time, behind the likes of Jessie Tuggle, Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews, Junior Seau and Kyle Clfiton.

He played so well for so long that it's easy to forget he sandwiched a stellar five-year stretch with the Buffalo Bills between his stints with the Rams and Redskins.

As it often happens in professional sports, Fletcher wasn't rewarded for his excellence until he was past his prime. The first of his four consecutive Pro Bowl nods came at age 34.

The typically modest Fletcher has attributed his legendary durability to a "little bit of dumb toughness" and never wanting to let his teammates down.

He will go down in history as one of the toughest and most instinctual defensive players of his era, likely falling just short of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*The latest "Around The League Podcast" broke down the Cowboys' loss and every other Week 15 game. *

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