The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 15 finalists for the class of 2023 Wednesday, with three players named finalists in their first year on the ballot.
Noticeably absent from the list was former Washington linebacker London Fletcher. The 16-year NFL veteran played his final seven seasons in Washington, where he made four consecutive Pro Bowls and was twice named second-team All-Pro.
Fletcher was named as one of 28 modern-era semifinalists in November, along with former Washington wide receiver Henry Ellard, who also failed to make it as a finalist.
Fletcher was an NFL Ironman, having played in 256 consecutive games, tied for No. 4 in NFL history. His 215 straight starts at linebacker is an NFL record.
In 16 NFL seasons, Fletcher played in 256 games and recorded 2,039 tackles, 39 sacks, 109 tackles for loss, 19 forced fumbles, 23 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and three touchdowns.
Fletcher’s numbers compare favorably to Ray Lewis — a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. However, Fletcher wasn’t as outspoken as Lewis when both played, which, unfairly, hurts him more than some will admit.
Ellard’s candidacy is also strong. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before spending five seasons in Washington. Ellard had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for Washington in the 1990s. He finished his career with 814 receptions for 13,777 yards and 65 touchdowns.
Washington is no stranger to having qualified players somehow not make the Hall of Fame. The first name that comes to mind is Joe Jacoby, and there is also Brian Mitchell.