Undersized HOF nominee Fletcher: "Knew I could play''

London Fletcher always believed he could play linebacker in the NFL. When Dick Vermeil gave him a chance to prove it, he did. Big time.

London Fletcher always knew he wasn’t small he just wasn’t tall. More importantly, he knew what he could do on a football field if someone gave him a chance.

That someone turned out to be Dick Vermeil.

“I played with a chip on my shoulder for a number of years,’’ the 5-10 former Pro Bowl linebacker told Talk of Fame Network this week. “When you come from a Division III school you’re always looking for your shoulder.

“I knew I could play football. It was just about getting an opportunity. Coach Vermeil was the right coach.’’

Standing barely 5-foot-10, Fletcher was an undrafted rookie free agent when he came into the NFL with only one real hope.

“I was hoping to make the practice squad,’’ Fletcher recalled.

He did more than that, making the 1998 St. Louis Rams as a backup linebacker and finally starting his first game in the final game of the season. One year later, London Fletcher was starting in the Super Bowl.

That began nine consecutive years of 100 tackles or more before finally being voted to his first Pro Bowl at the age of 33 after being a Pro Bowl alternate a remarkable eight times.

He won a Super Bowl (and played in two) with the Rams, started five years with the Buffalo Bills and led the NFL in tackles while playing middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins. Now he finds himself one of 102 players on this year’s preliminary Hall of Fame ballot.

London Fletcher shares his thoughts on where he is today and how he got there on this week’s edition of the Talk of Fame Network Radio show.

Joining London is long-time Buffalo Bills beat reporter (and former NFL executive) Vic Carucci to explain the odd halftime retirement announcement made by Buffalo cornerback Vontae Davis last Sunday. Carucci – as well as out veteran Talk of Fame co-hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge – have seen many odd things in their combined 100-plus years covering the NFL but a player quitting the team at halftime was a first for all of them.

Carucci explains that “the easy analysis is to say he quit on his team,’’ but both he and Borges raised other possibilities. Tune in to your local SB Nation Radio station to hear the full story or just go to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com and listen in whenever you want.

You can also download the free podcast of the show at Tunes or on the TuneIn app. All our previous shows and interviews are also available there.

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