London Fletcher Eyeing Pro Bowl; Brian Orakpo Longing For Other February Game
ASHBURN – Players and coaches voted for their selections for the Pro Bowl over the weekend, while fan balloting closed Monday night. That didn’t prevent Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher from stating his case for being one of the linebackers selected for the league’s annual all-star game.
Fletcher, 36, has 146 tackles – the most in the league and the most he’s had in any one season since 2005 with Buffalo, when he had 157. Cleveland linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is second in the league with 138; Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway, whom the Redskins will see Saturday when the teams meet at FedEx Field, is second in the NFC with 128.
“I mean, you think about it a little bit, but those things aren’t really in my control,” Fletcher said. “I can’t vote for myself. Obviously, I played at a high level this year, just like I did in years past. I would be very fortunate to be able to get there, but it won’t be the end of the world for me.”
Fletcher was an alternate for several years before finally getting the nod after the 2009 season, when he qualified after Jonathan Vilma was forced to withdraw because New Orleans played in the Super Bowl the following week. He also played in the game in February, when teammate DeAngelo Hall was named the Pro Bowl MVP.
The Redskins did not have a single player among the list of leaders at each position the NFL released on Thursday. The rosters for the game, which takes place on Jan. 29, will be announced on Tuesday.
Lorenzo Alexander, who has been the Redskins’ punisher on special teams again this season, was among the contenders for the NFC’s special teams roster slot. Alexander, a reserve linebacker who started 12 games last season, has all 15 of his tackles on coverage units.
“Anybody who really studies special teams, I don’t know how you don’t vote for him being No. 1,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I think if the coaches voted – just coaches, because they study the tapes – he’d be No. 1. That’s how dominating a player he is.”
Brian Orakpo, who has also played in the game the last two years, said the opportunity to return to Hawaii is not something that he’s concerned about. There’s another late-season game he’d rather be preparing for.
“In all honesty, I love that the fans and the coaches and the players respect the way that I play, especially the fans as well, but you know, I want to go to the postseason so bad,” Orakpo said. “I’ve been there, done that with the Pro Bowls. If I was able to go, I’m obviously going to represent our Redskins team to the fullest, but I want to play in the postseason so bad.”