London Fletcher has been banging heads at inside linebacker in the NFL for 14 years and he plans on doing it for at least a couple more seasons.
Junior Seau was an NFL linebacker for 20 seasons and experience the same violent collisions from 1990-2009 as Fletcher is now. He died last week and authorities say that his death was at his own hand.
Fletcher told Peter Kingd that he has been thinking a lot about Seau since last week. And he is scared.
“I think about what I'm going to be like at his age, 43, and how I'll be coping with life after football. I keep going over and over it,” the Redskins’ iron man, who has not missed a game in his entire career, told King. “What am I going to be like several years down the road? I'm definitely concerned with quality of life after football. This makes me a little more scared about it.''
Fletcher doesn’t know why Seau did what he did but he thinks it may be tied into the same football player’s mentality that tells them to ignore injuries. That tendency can carry on after the playing days are over and cause ex-players to fight getting help when they need it most. That is why he’d like to see players get mandatory counseling when they leave the game.
You take the decision out of guys' hands,'' Fletcher said, "and that way, maybe some of them will be helped.
Whether it is made mandatory when he retires or not, Fletcher has vowed to get help on his own.
“For me, now, I can tell you I'm going to seek help if I feel I need it,” he told King. “That's what Junior's death has taught me.''
Hopefully, many other players will follow Fletcher’s lead.