London Fletcher Bashes Pro Bowl, Tells HOF Voters To Not Be Lazy

If you like candid, this is one interview you'll want to hear

The DA Show
December 19, 2018 - 12:49 pm

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The NFL unveiled its Pro Bowl selections Tuesday, which brought back some not-so-great memories for London Fletcher. 

Fletcher, who played 16 NFL seasons, was one of the best linebackers of his generation – yet only has four Pro Bowls to show for it.

That’s frustrating.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely there was great frustration for me,” Fletcher said on The DA Show. “I didn’t make it, I don’t think, until my 11th year. It was ridiculous. There was years where I was clearly the best middle linebacker in whatever conference I was playing in, and here I am first or second alternate. There was one time where a guy who made it ahead of me missed like half the season and still was voted ahead of me in the Pro Bowl because he was more popular. It’s frustrating, especially if you’re playing in a smaller market or you’re playing on a team that’s not winning. You’re not going to get all the accolades that you deserve.”

That player, by the way, was former Lions linebacker Stephen Boyd, who made the Pro Bowl over Fletcher in 1999 and 2000. 

“He was a stiff, seriously – and he made it ahead of me,” said Fletcher, who played for the Rams, Bills and Redskins. “(People said), ‘Just wait your turn, you always get voted a year later.’ I was like, ‘Whatever.’ It kept happening over and over and over again. I was extremely beyond frustrated. I was pissed off.”

Fletcher, who went undrafted in 1998, didn’t make the Pro Bowl until 2009. Then he made it four years in a row.

Fletcher isn’t just mad about his misfortune; he’s mad that deserving players are still getting snubbed.

Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, a rookie out of South Carolina State, has a league-leading 146 tackles to go with 7.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

“But he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl,” Fletcher said. “There’s numerous examples of that at every position in the league. Chris Jones, the guy from the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s one of the best interior pass rushers in the AFC, but he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. It’s definitely frustrating.”

Why does it matter so much? Well, because Pro Bowl selections are a key credential that Hall-of-Fame voters consider. Fletcher, though, doesn't think that should be the case.

“You have to really look at what a guy’s done,” Fletcher said. “I look at my own career. I only made four Pro Bowls, but I should have made 10 or 12 Pro Bowls – easily. I’m up for the Hall of Fame now, and there’s going to be one of them knocks: ‘Well, he only made four Pro Bowls.’ 

“It wasn’t my fault. It was their fault,” Fletcher continued, laughing. “They made the mistake of not voting me in. Hopefully they’ll start looking at really what a guy did and truly not be lazy about it and not just say, ‘Well, he only made four Pro Bowls.’ Let’s really dig and take some time and look at this guy’s career. But not everybody’s going to do that. They’ll do the lazy analysis.”

With more Pro Bowls, Fletcher likely would have had a better chance to make the Hall of Fame this year.

“I didn’t make the cut to 25,” he said, “and if you add another seven or eight Pro Bowls to my credentials, there’s no doubt I’m making the top 10 just based on my numbers. Compare them to Ray Lewis, a Brian Urlacher, who just went in. These guys went in first ballot. It would be hard to keep me out.”