Redskins' Fletcher practices; streak might go on


Redskins' Fletcher practices; streak might go on

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) London Fletcher walked off the practice field with a slight limp and some upbeat news: He doesn't have a concussion, and his streak of never missing a game over 15 NFL seasons might remain intact after all.

The Redskins said Fletcher took part in the full workout Friday, one day after undergoing some six hours of tests for what coach Mike Shanahan has called a ``balance issue.'' The 37-year-old linebacker is officially listed as questionable with head and hamstring injuries ahead of Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

``I was encouraged by today,'' Fletcher said. ``It felt good to get out there and run around. ... We've got 48 hours before the game. The body has a great way of healing, and just hopefully over the next couple of days I'll continue to improve.''

Fletcher has never missed a game since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 1998, a remarkable run considering he has more tackles (1,865 including assists, according to STATS) than anyone else in the league during that span. His 231-game streak is the longest among active players, having moved one ahead of Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber when the Buccaneers had their bye week earlier this month.

Fletcher injured his right hamstring in the second half of last week's loss to the New York Giants, and he told the team about his balance problem on Monday.

``I've been dealing with it for a couple of weeks now,'' Fletcher said. ``But finally decided to tell them about it and kind of see if we could figure out what's going on.''

While the tests ruled out a concussion, more will be needed to diagnose the cause of the balance problem. Shanahan mentioned the inner ear as a possible source.

``I'm not sure what it is - they're going to keep on testing it,'' Shanahan said.

Fletcher declined to say whether his current medical issue is connected to an undisclosed ailment that sidelined him for a few days during the preseason. At the time, Shanahan said Fletcher was ``not feeling right,'' but neither he nor Fletcher has ever given any details.

As for his streak, Fletcher was modest when the subject was broached, saying he only thinks about it when asked by reporters.

``I've always taken in the mindset of: If I'm able to play a game, I'll play a game,'' he said. ``It just kind of happened that it's been all the games, every game.''

Shanahan said Fletcher was being perhaps too modest.

``For a guy to play that many games, you can guarantee that it means something,'' Shanahan said. ``There's no question about it.''

Notes: As expected, WR Pierre Garcon (right foot) and S Brandon Meriweather (left knee) have been ruled out for Sunday's game. ... Shanahan said he'll be judicious about how he uses TE Chris Cooley, who re-joined the team earlier this week. ``You don't want to throw him in the briar patch too quick,'' the coach said.


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Ravens' Jimmy Smith suspended for multiple games without pay

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Ravens' Jimmy Smith suspended for multiple games without pay

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has been suspended for four games without pay for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

The suspension, announced Tuesday, stems from Smith's behavior toward his ex-girlfriend.

The Ravens released a statement that in part read: "The Ravens fully support the NFL's decision. The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player's behavior was inappropriate and wrong."

The suspension will take effect after the final mandated roster cuts on Sept. 1 and extend through Baltimore's game at Pittsburgh on Sept. 30.

Smith, in a statement issued by the Ravens, said: "I promise that I have already learned much and will continue to learn more from this experience. ... I take full responsibility for my past conduct."

Smith will be allowed to participate in all of the Ravens' preseason activities, including games. The 30-year-old is one of Baltimore's best defensive backs.

The team said it reviewed the case to decide whether to keep Smith on the roster.

"We convened a group of Ravens women and men executives, not directly involved with our football operations, to review the matter. We also engaged in conversations with Jimmy about his past behavior and his intention to change," the statement said.

"Additionally, it is our understanding that following a long-running and difficult custody dispute with his former girlfriend and mother of his son, Jimmy has resolved his custody and support issues."

As a result, the Ravens will allow Smith to return after his suspension.

"Jimmy has acknowledged his behaviors were wrong and accepts full responsibility for them. He has completed a clinical evaluation and has agreed to undertake any follow-up care or treatment that may be recommended. ... Jimmy has assured us that he is fully dedicated to making this change. He also understands the consequences if he does not."

Smith has played seven seasons for Baltimore since being drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. He started in 12 games last season before an Achilles tendon injury forced him to miss the team's final four games. During those four weeks, he chose to accept an NFL suspension for using performance enhancers.

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Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

A few weeks ago, running backs coach Randy Jordan floated a hypothetical out to his unit: If you could start a franchise with any guy, who would you pick?

Rob Kelley's answer was Adrian Peterson. And as fate would have it, Peterson is now a part of Kelley's franchise, a fact that has the third-year back floored. 

"I was kind of amazed," Kelley said on Tuesday, which was Peterson's first day as a 'Skin. "I have a opportunity to play with Adrian Peterson, it feels surreal."

Kapri Bibbs' reaction was much of the same.

"It's amazing having him in the building," he told reporters. "I couldn't hope for anything better."

Samaje Perine wasn't in a position to speak to the media by the time the locker room was closed, but at least in the eyes of Kelley and Bibbs, Peterson's arrival is something to embrace. It's not too often you get to go through drills and meetings with a guy who's going to have a bust in Canton sometime soon.

"I don't think there really is a cap to that," Bibbs answered when asked what he's hoping to pick up from Washington's new No. 26. "There's not too much you can learn from him."

"I got him here, what can I learn from him?" Kelley said in reponse to a similar question. "What can I gain from this situation? How can I make myself a better player by watching him?"

Bibbs revealed that Peterson is already "spilling information" to him, which lines up with Peterson saying at the podium in Ashburn he wants to come in and be a positive influence on the rest of the group.

However, Peterson also said in his presser that he "without a doubt" wants to be the starter, and if that does eventually happen, it'll come at the expense of someone else's spot on the roster or someone else's reps in a game, whether that be a Kelley, a Bibbs or a Perine.

That's not something that bothers two of the options already in the Burgundy and Gold's backfield, though.

"I'm always gonna come in every single day, regardless," Bibbs said when Peterson's resume and talents were brought up as something that could pressure him.

Kelley isn't stressed, either.

"Right now, I'm just putting my head down and working and trying to get better."