He's Susan Lucci no more. London Fletcher is finally going to the Pro Bowl.
The Washington Redskins middle linebacker has been promoted to the NFC roster because the player ahead of him, Jonathan Vilma, will be going to the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints.
"At some point I did think, maybe it's never going to happen," Fletcher said Monday. "I've had some great seasons and never made it to the Pro Bowl."
Fletcher said he "did a little sprinting around the house" when the Saints kicked an overtime field goal to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday's NFC championship game. He had turned the game off in the fourth quarter, figuring friends would call him with the result. When the phone didn't ring, he turned the television back on and realized the game was in overtime.
"That was the most gut-wrenching game I've ever watched," Fletcher said.
The 34-year-old Fletcher is the league's most prolific tackler over the past decade, with at least 100 tackles in 11 straight seasons. He has never missed a game in his 12-year career and ranks only behind Brett Favre in consecutive games played among non-specialists with 192. He's a solid team leader and widely respected as one of the best at his position.
In a rare outburst, Fletcher was upset when he wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl last season, calling himself "the Susan Lucci of the NFL," a reference to the soap opera star who was nominated 18 times for an Emmy before finally winning. He said he played the game "the way it's supposed to be played" and was consistently overlooked because he stayed out of trouble and wasn't a flashy player who would "do some kind of dance" after a routine tackle.
Fletcher was more accepting when he was initially snubbed this season. The Redskins had a poor record, and he was a first alternate for the first time in his career. With the Pro Bowl taking place before the Super Bowl for the first time, he realized there was a good chance Vilma wouldn't be able to play.
"When the league announced the new format, I wasn't sure how I felt about it ... but I'll take it," Fletcher said with a laugh.
Now that he's in, Fletcher has a game to play in Miami on Sunday. He said he's only worked out a few times since the regular season ended.
"I was like, 'Nah, am I wasting my time working out?'" he said. "It's going to be a challenge getting into shape."
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