I am usually not one to whine about “no respect”. In fact, there are few things in the world of sports that grate my last dang nerve than sports figures using the we-get-no-respect card. That said, I think that by the time you’re done reading this you will see how slighted former Denver Broncos‘ great LB/DE, Simon Fletcher was during not only his playing days, but also after his playing days ended.
Fletcher, a native of Bay City, TX, was drafted out of the University of Houston in the second round (54th overall) in 1985. After his first three seasons, in which he accrued a total of 10.5 sacks, Simon went on a six-year run which saw him become one of the leading sack-masters in the NFL. Starting in 1988, Fletcher put up sack totals of 9, 12, 11 (including one for a safety), 13.5, 16, & 13.5. In fact, his 16 sacks in 1992 rank 3rd in Broncos’ history for a single season (Elvis Dumervil, 17 in 2009 and Von Miller, 18.5 in 2012). Now I don’t want to give you the impression that Simon Fletcher was a one-trick pony (pun intended). In that same six year span, Fletcher averaged over 8 tackles a game, intercepted one pass, recovered 10 fumbles, and was the Broncos’ Defensive MVP in both 1992 and 1993. And if all of that is not enough, he shares the NFL record of at least one sack in ten straight games with Broncos’ newcomer, DeMarcus Ware.
So you’re probably thinking, you left out the number of Mr. Fletcher’s Pro-Bowl appearances. Here’s where Fletcher becomes the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. From 1990-1993, Simon was among the NFL leaders in sacks by linebackers. He was in the rarified air of Kevin Green (Rams), Leslie O’Neil (SD), Derrick Thomas (KC), Pat Swilling (NO), and Charles Haley (SF). With that resume, Fletcher was awarded exactly zero trips to Hawaii (at least those that are on the NFL’s dime). Adding insult to injury, almost 20 years after he played his last game in the NFL, he has not even gotten a sniff at the hallowed Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
Now I don’t believe for one minute that Mr. Bowlen, the Alumni Association, nor whomever votes on such honors are purposely omitting Simon Fletcher from the ROF. However, they certainly seem to be just as guilty as those who voted for Pro-Bowlers from 1988-1993 and left out the one of the best of his generation at getting after the QB. What makes this even more of a travesty is that he’s not only one of our own, but he’s also the franchise’s all-time leader in arguably the most important individual defensive statistic, sacks. While he may not complain about the lack of recognition, I’ll do the honors of speaking out for him and say, “I’m tellin ya…I don’t get no respect!”