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Fletcher Wins Redskins' Community Honor


As an 11-year NFL veteran, London Fletcher has done his job with conviction, enthusiasm and perseverenace.


Over the course of his career, that approach has extended beyond the football field. He has been passionate about his commitment to community service as well.

The Redskins have nominated Fletcher as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year representative.

The award, given annually since 1970, is the only NFL award that focuses on community service as well outstanding play. It was renamed in honor of the former Chicago Bears great in 1999.

Certainly, Fletcher is well aware of the significance of this award. He was nominated for the award twice as a member of the Buffalo Bills from 2002-06.

"It means a lot," the veteran middle linebacker said. "To win it here it means a lot because as a football player you have an opportunity to make an impact on your community, and I know the reason that I'm here is because of the help that I received from other people in getting to this point."

Fletcher added, in his typical succinct fashion: "I just like to give back, especially to causes that are near and dear to me."

Those causes are legion.

The Cleveland native founded "London's Bridge" to assist youth through education, recreation, leadership and teamwork. The program provides assistance in the form of test preparation, college tours and scholarships.

Fletcher also distributes 50 bicycles and other gifts annually to promote fitness to young people.

Fletcher has become personally involved in community service initiatives in the Washington, D.C. region.

He has served as a "4th & Life" panelist, sharing his life story with area high school football players at the annual Redskins community relations program at FedExField.

Further, Fletcher serves as sports ambassador for the Children's Inn, a sanctuary for children being treated at the National Institutes of Health.

Each club's Man of the Year Award nomination is given to a panel which includes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The group will then select the league's overall winner.

From the pool of 32 Man of the Year candidates, four finalists will be honored at a press conference on Jan. 30, the Friday before Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay.

The NFL winner will be recognized on the field with Commissioner Goodell just prior to the coin toss at the Super Bowl.

The winner receives a bronze trophy and a $25,000 donation in their name to the charity of their choice.

The first NFL Man of the Year Award winner was Johnny Unitas. Over the years the Redskins have had league-wide winners in Joe Theismann in 1982 and Darrell Green in 1996.

Jason Taylor, currently with the Redskins, was last year's NFL award winner for the Miami Dolphins. Troy Vincent, who was with the Redskins in 2006, won the award as a Philadelphia Eagle in 2002.

As a youngster, Fletcher said he tried to model his style of play after that of Mike Singletary, the great Bears middle linebacker. Singletary, now the head coach of the 49ers, was the league's Man of the Year Award winner in 1990.

Fletcher made news earlier this month when he was passed over--again--for a Pro Bowl berth. He has started 134 consecutive games--sixth best in the league--and posted more tackles than any other defender this decade, yet he has never been voted in to the Pro Bowl.

Fletcher admitted that to be nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award softens the blow.

"At the end of the day, your legacy will be the impact that you have on other people and their lives, and not what you accomplished on the football field," Fletcher said.

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