INDIANAPOLIS — Rather than shy away from the pressure of being a positive role model, Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher says he embraces the opportunity to inspire a younger generation. It was only fitting, then, that Fletcher was honored with Athletes in Action’s 2012 Bart Starr Award – which recognizes an NFL player for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community – during the Super Bowl Breakfast held Feb. 4 in Indianapolis.
“I strive each and every day to be a man of character and integrity,” Fletcher said after being presented the award by Starr, a Hall of Fame quarterback and MVP of Super Bowls I and II. “It’s important to protect the platform that Christ has given me and use it for His glory. Not just with words but through my actions, I endeavor to lead – but more importantly, to serve others – to be an example of Christ’s grace and mercy to the world in need of hope.”
A formidable force on the field, Fletcher is known for his dependability, having never missed a game in his 14 seasons in the National Football League. He entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 1998, starting his career with the St. Louis Rams after playing football at John Carroll University in Ohio. He played four seasons in St. Louis, five with the Buffalo Bills and his last five with the Washington Redskins. Fletcher was the Rams’ Rookie of the Year in 1998 and then helped his squad secure the 1999 Super Bowl Championship. He was selected for the NFL Pro Bowl twice.
Over his career, Fletcher has remained consistent, finishing his last 11 seasons as a team leader in tackles and leading the league at the end of the 2011 season. But his consistency off the field is also notable. He was the inaugural recipient of the Redskins’ Community Service Award in 2011 and was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award four times. He started the London’s Bridge Foundation in 2003 to address the inequities facing underprivileged and underrepresented children. The organization hosts mentoring programs and supports projects in education, leadership, health and fitness and citizenship. Other charitable involvements include the Redskins’ Harvest Feast, school supply drives, “Fields for Tomorrow” program and visits to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Fletcher and wife Charne have three children: Paige, Steele and Brooke. Fletcher was one of three finalists for the award as voted by NFL players across the program. Jason Witten, tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, and Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles, were also finalists.
The Super Bowl Breakfast is an NFL sanctioned event hosted by Athletes in Action each year in the city hosting the game. The 2012 breakfast marked the 25th anniversary event and was attended by a sell-out crowd of 2,000 guests at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
By Teresa Young, AIA Communications
Photo by Dave Perlow, AIA