“For probably the last four or five years I’ve always thought about retiring and what do I want to do,” said Fletcher, who at one point mentioned a desire to work in broadcasting. “For me, at least, in order to [play] at the level I’ve been able to do it, it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice, just time spent training and meeting and watching extra film and all things I’ve been able to do. And I enjoyed doing it, but I missed a lot of other parts of my life.” [ESPN.com]
Fletcher came into the league undrafted out of John Carroll University, a D-III school. According to the ESPN.com report, he is one of only six linebackers to record at least 35 sacks and 20 interceptions in their career. Fletcher currently has 39 and 23, respectively.
“Obviously everyone wants to go out like Ray Lewis with the Super Bowl parade,” Fletcher said. “That would be a great way to go out. But it wasn’t in the cards for me if this is it. But it’s more again about trying to leave a legacy and putting some seeds in place and hopefully they’ll grow … and a year down the road I can be proud of this organization. That’s how I really look at it.” [ESPN.com]
Fletcher’s longevity, and the fact that he has remained a high-caliber player for all 16 of his NFL seasons, has to put him in the discussion for the Hall of Fame. He currently holds the longest consecutive games played streak among active NFL players at 254 despite dealing with several injuries throughout.