London Fletcher's remarkable longevity

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears is dropped by London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24 2010 in Chicago Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Forte; London Fletcher

St. Louis Rams MLB James Laurinaitis is rapidly locking down his place as fans' second-favorite draft pick of Devaney Era. And why wouldn't he? The kid is nails tough, dedicated to the game and everything a team could want to captain their defense. Laurinaitis fills a void the team had after London Fletcher following the 2001 season. 

Fletcher is in the news again today for his remark to PFT Live that he is willing to miss the entire season if need be to resolve the lockout. That's the kind of sacrifice and dedication you would expect from Fletcher, who, at 36, has already had a long productive career. For a player that age, missing a season could be the end of his career, though I somehow doubt Fletcher thinks that way. 

Fletcher's 87 tackles and Pro Bowl bid last season are a rarity. Only four other linebackers have had more than 85 tackles at the age of 35 or older. Ray Lewis, with his 102 tackles last year at the age of 35, is one of those players. The others are Sam Mills, who did it three times from the age of 35-37, Clay Matthews and Hardy Nickerson. Of all those players, only one, Nickerson, started every game that season. 

Laurinaitis is 25-years-old and already has a promising start to his career. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and stick around for as long as Fletcher has...and hopefully with the Rams. 

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