London Fletcher was one of the best linebackers in Commanders' history. Is he a Hall of Famer though?
London Fletcher, thought to be an unbelievable player throughout his career, was recently revealed to be a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame class of 2024. This leaves a question on the minds of many Commanders fans on if and when he will get in. London Fletcher was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent out of John Carroll in 1998. Despite a blazing fast 40 time of 4.38, Fletcher went undrafted in part due to his small school. Fletcher went on to have a prolific NFL career spanning from 1998-2013. Fletcher signed with the Commanders in 2008 and proceeded to become a pro bowl and all pro. He has since been inducted into the Commanders' Ring of Fame.
Fletcher's Hall of Fame Case
Fletcher was regarded as one of the best linebackers of his era. He was named to 4 pro bowls and was a second team all pro twice. He also holds the NFL record for (official) combined tackles in a career. Despite this, Fletcher still lags behind the average inductee at inside linebacker. According to pro football reference (PFR), the average hall of famer at middle linebacker has made 9 pro bowls and been named a first team all pro 4 times. This number is also skewed by Ray Nitschke, an elite linebacker who only made 1 pro bowl despite winning 4 titles. PFR judges each player on its own Hall of Fame Monitor and grades London Fletcher at a 59.98 (53.02 points behind the average hall of famer). Fletcher ranks behind nearly every inductee, 7 non-Hall of Famers and 2 not yet eligible players. This metric although useful, is not the only deciding factor and should not cloud your judgement. For example, Sam Mills, a linebacker with a score of 55.78 was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
Fletcher has already been eligible for induction for a few years but this was his first time making the list of 25. He, however continues to face an uphill climb if he wants get in. Patrick Willis, Hardy Nickerson, Randy Gradishar, Karl Mecklenburg and NaVorro Bowman all have better accolades. Although some of these will be competing as senior nominees this does not change the fact that there is steep competition. That list does not even include Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner, both of whom are locks for the Hall of Fame once they are eligible. These players could delay Fletcher's induction into the Hall or prevent it entirely. This year specifically, it seems unlikely that Fletcher is getting in as this seems to be a strong semifinalist pool headlined by superstars like Torry Holt, Devin Hester and Antonio Gates. Despite this Fletcher remains hopeful stating, "It's gonna happen." in an interview with the News-Herald. Fletcher was an extremely good football player throughout his career who undoubtedly deserves to be Hall of Famer. Whether he gets in or not remains to be seen.