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Fletcher Has Fond Memories of Rams' Glory Days


There's a highlights package running in London Fletcher's head with the St. Louis Rams coming to town.

The Rams bring back memories. Good memories. Memories of victories and celebrations and a championship.

Fletcher, 34, spent the first four years of his career with the Rams, earning a Super Bowl ring and building a reputation. He stepped in as their starting middle linebacker in 1999, his second season, and that, coincidentally, was the year in which the Rams ripped off a 13-3 record and defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV.

It's easy for him to summon the best of his time with the Rams.

"Winning the Super Bowl. Our first time beating San Francisco. And beating Tampa Bay to go to the Super Bowl," he says.

That Super Bowl came down to another Rams linebacker, Mike Jones, making a tackle a foot from the goal line as time expired to preserve the Rams' first and only Super Bowl title. The win against the Bucs came in the NFC championship game and the Rams prevailed, 11-6, in a bitterly-contested duel in St. Louis.

Defeating the 49ers let the Rams know they had truly arrived. The 49ers, their NFC West rivals, had pounded the Rams 17 straight times dating to 1990 and only three of those games were decided by single-digit margins.

Then the Rams rose up, behind unknown quarterback Kurt Warner and an offensive guru named Mike Martz who had come over to be the coordinator after a short stint with the Redskins.

The Rams trashed the 49ers 42-20 in St. Louis and then beat them 23-7 in San Francisco to sweep the season series for the first time since 1980.

Fletcher, who made the club as an undrafted rookie, left the Rams after his fourth season. His last game: the 20-17 upset of the Rams by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.

He signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills and played with them for four seasons before joining the Redskins in 2007. The 5-10, 245-pound iron man has been the starter in every game but one since his first season, giving him 136 consecutive starts. He has a 10-year streak of leading his team in tackles and led the Redskins in tackles against the New York Giants with 18 (11 solo).

There aren't too many familiar faces left on the Rams from Fletcher's day. Nor are the Rams a powerhouse any longer. They've finished last in the NFC West the last two seasons and haven't been to the playoffs since the 2003 season.

Fletcher knows quarterback Marc Bulger and spoke with defensive end Leonard Little, like himself a 12-year veteran, over the summer but that is about the extent of his personal relationship with that team today.

Playing against the Rams does not charge him up more than a game against any other team. Memories are memories and that's all.

"It's been eight years since I've been there," he says. "In some ways it seems like a long time. In some ways, no."

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