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In Rough Stretch, Fletcher's Staying Positive


Linebacker London Fletcher has been in Washington long enough to remember the last playoff push in 2007, and he has also been here when the team went 4-12 in 2009.

The reason why this 2011 Redskins team feels more like a winner than a loser is the positive, professional attitude in the locker room, he said.

For Fletcher, that approach starts at the top with the coaching staff.

"When you look back to '09 and the regime that was here before, it was a regime that was in disarray, and it wasn't a great locker room," he explained. "There were a lot of divisive pieces in the locker room, not a lot of professionals, and just a different atmosphere."

Head coach Mike Shahanan was brought in to build a winner in Washington before last season. This process started by cleaning out the "divisive pieces."

"He started a process of rebuilding, after years of just a lot of mistakes that have been made by the prior people who were running things," he said. "Now that's going to take a while."

The Redskins coaching staff targeted the draft and free agents last offseason that fit into the character and philosophy that the team wanted to run in Washington.

"We understand it's a process," he said. "I think sometimes you've got to go through a couple of losses to get to where you want to be, and that's been the case."

Following the lead of his head coach, Fletcher refuses to call the movement a "rebuild" because that lowers a team's expectations.

"I didn't say we were rebuilding this year," he said. "As competitors, I think the word 'rebuilding' can be taken out of context. When people say that, they just automatically assume that we're giving up on this season.

"There's not a man in this locker room or a coach on this coaching staff that's resigned to losing. I am not resigned to losing."

And regardless of whether the team wins or loses, Fletcher only knows one way to play the game as a professional.

"I'm going to go out and give my all regardless of the situation," he said. "Whether we are up by 20 or down by 20, that's the only thing I know how to do."

With Fletcher at age 36, his goals are set on more than just personal accolades, many of which he accomplished long ago. At this point, he said that he just wants to build a winner in Washington.

"I love playing the game, I love playing here in Washington," he said. "I want to be a part of getting them back to the glory days. When I leave this game and I'm sitting on my couch and I'm proud to say I was a Redskin because I helped establish a new winning tradition."

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