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London Fletcher Press Conference

HEAD COACH JOE GIBBS

On signing London Fletcher:

"London played with the (St. Louis) Rams originally and with the (Buffalo) Bills the last five years. We know a lot about him. A lot of the coaches here have been around him and have coached him. He fits great with our group of guys. We think we have a great locker room. I know the kind of people that we have here. We believe that football players win football games, not coaches or schemes. That is important to us. We think he is the right kind of guy."

On London Fletcher's stats:

"London led all linebackers last year with four interceptions. One thing that is extremely hard to do is over the last five years London has had more tackles than anyone else in the NFL. He has also played in 103 straight football games. In practice he takes every snap. He won't come out of the games. He plays first down, second down and nickel. He is one of those guys that loves to play and that is exciting for us."

On London Fletcher fitting into the defensive scheme:

"The other thing about London is obviously he knows the scheme and fits in real well. We have someone that we feel really fits with us. In analyzing free agency and what we thought might be there, we have been working on this one for awhile. I appreciate Vinny (Cerrato), Louis (Riddick) and his whole group, and Scott (Campbell) and the scouting department."

LONDON FLETCHER (LB, #59)

On signing with the Redskins:

"First of all I would like to thank Mr. Snyder, for allowing me to become a member of this storied franchise the Washington Redskins organization. Coach Gibbs, Vinny, Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray and all of the guys that played a major role in me becoming a member of the Washington Redskins, also my agent Drew Rosenhaus and getting the deal done. When I told Drew initially about coming to visit Washington I told him that this was the place that I wanted to be. It is one of the all time great franchises in the history of the National Football League. When I look at the roster, coaches and the potential I see and know that this team is not far off from their glory days as you look and see the three Super Bowl trophies here and you know how Coach Gibbs wants to do things. He is a fine man and a fine head coach. I know he is going to do the right things to get this team back to where we should be, which is putting a fourth trophy on this podium. I am excited. I haven't slept much since free agency started at midnight with coaches calling me. Gregg (Williams) flew up there early in the morning to Cleveland and brought me in here. I didn't sleep much last night because of all the phone calls. I am excited because it has finally happened."

On what time Coach Gibbs called:

"It was right after midnight. I talked to Coach Gibbs, Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray, Danny Smith and Al Saunders. I talked to a whole group of guys before I made the trip in here. My last phone call from Gregg was at about 3am and he said they would be in here at 9am to get me. Gregg's exact words were, ?Don't forget to bring a suit. I guarantee you will need a suit'."

On what he feels he can do to help turn the defense back around:

"As you look at what they did the prior two seasons as opposed to last season, they were very stout against the run and created a lot of turnovers. They had some injury situations. They wanted me to come in here and be one of the leaders on this team and be the quarterback of the defense. They want me to be the guy who looks into the eyes of the other 10 men on that football field and when I make a call exude confidence in the call no matter how our guys feel about it, and know that in that situation we will get the job done, on key third downs we are going to get the stops and on fourth down situations we are going to get the stops. They want me to be in here, be a leader and do what I have done the past nine years, which is make plays. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have the talent. They told me to do what I have done the past nine years and it will be more than enough for this organization."

On why he chose not to re-sign with Buffalo:

"The things that they are doing in Buffalo are very promising as well. However an opportunity like this does not come along often. It was just something I couldn't pass up. It was a situation where I was torn. I had grown to love the fans in Buffalo, as well as the organization and a lot of the things they had going on there and the direction they were heading. Buffalo is also only two hours from my home in Cleveland. There were options that I had to weigh. Buffalo wanted to retain me. When it was all said and done I looked at the opportunity to play for the Washington Redskins, I know that Mr. Snyder is going to do everything he can to make this team a winning organization. Everything I have heard from previous players is that this is a first class organization. That is an understatement. This is beyond first class."

On changing from Fletcher-Baker back to just Fletcher:

"I added the hyphen Baker to honor my father and grandfather last season and give them homage. Since then I have decided to go back to Fletcher. That was something that I had planned on doing. I never changed it on my jersey. It was just to pay them respect. My grandfather actually passed during the season. He was battling some illness during the season. I just thought it was the right thing to do for him."

On how he went from going to college to play basketball to being a starting linebacker in the NFL:

"Football was always something that I loved as a kid. Basketball was what I was known for. I didn't play high school football until my senior year. I didn't play again until my third year in college. Initially I went to St. Francis on a basketball scholarship. I transferred to John Carroll and started playing both sports. Football came to the forefront and became my passion. The opportunity was there where some people thought I would be able to make it in the National Football League."

On the discussion about his size and if it is an issue with him:

"It has never been an issue for me. I am surprised that it is still an issue. When people write or say something about me that is the first thing they mention regardless of the fact that I have been in the league for 10 seasons. Not only have I been in the league for 10 years but I am proven player and have been a starting middle linebacker for two Super Bowls. The height concern I guess is something to create a story. Last time I checked the holes open this way (wide) not this way (tall)."

On if he was surprised how quickly he got a contract because he is 32:

"I have always been confident in my ability. As my play has indicated, I have gotten better every year in some aspect. It might not just be in a physical standpoint but in a lot of different things. As I have told the coaches, I still can continue to get better. It is all about how you take care of yourself and how the coach takes care of you in practice. Age has never been an issue with me. I feel young and spry still. I feel confident to where I feel I can play many more years."

On if being familiar with a lot of the defensive coaching staff was a determining factor to signing with the Redskins:

"It was one of the determining factors. As I mentioned earlier, this was the place that I wanted to be. When the deal was consummated there was no need for me to go any other place. I know what it is like in Buffalo and I know what it is like here. This was where I wanted to be so there was no need to take any other visits."

On why he has been able to be so successful throughout his career:

"Great teammates for one, having the other 10 guys and the coaching staff around me put me in the right position to be able to make the plays. Hard work, studying, and doing the necessary things to try and steal a fraction of a step to make a play if its from a lineman standpoint. That could be the difference between making a play and not making a play, just a fraction of a second. It has been a combination of things. The coaches, the schemes I have played in, the players that I have been around, and the preparation and work that I have put into this."

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