Jamar Fletcher (Getty Images)
Following a season in which he was deactivated for a number of games, Texans cornerback Jamar Fletcher re-committed himself and is making a push for serious playing time.
A former first-round pick, Fletcher never lived up to his college accolades or his draft status. He was given the Thorpe Award (given to the nation’s best defensive back) and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year his junior season. Fletcher left school after that junior year to enter the NFL draft, which in retrospect may have been a mistake.
In 2001, Fletcher was drafted 26th overall by the Miami Dolphins; he would only start a total of six games in three seasons. After bouncing around the league for a few years, Fletcher settled in with the Texans this past season. After being an early contributor, Fletcher began to get less and less playing time and was even deactivated for a series of games.
"He was not a big part of what we were doing late in the season." Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "A lot of guys can go south in those type of situations, but what he did was rededicate himself, get his mind right, and he’s had an excellent camp."
It seems like Fletcher has gotten back to his roots in this years camp. The playmaker from Wisconsin (where he set the school’s all-time interception mark at 21) is comfortable in camp and it’s showing in his performance.
"He’s just making plays." Kubiak said of Fletcher’s camp. "He’s a real pro but he’s making more plays on the ball. He’s finding ways to get his hands on the ball"
With the tremendous camp Fletcher is having, there’s even a chance he could land in the starting lineup, something that no one thought was possible late last season.
"I think he’s making a heck of a push. Right now in nickel he would go inside" Kubiak said. "You can list two starters but hell, those guys play. So he’s pushing to get a lot of playing time."
The veteran corner has been through a lot in his time in the NFL. He’s played on four teams in seven seasons and was only given a chance to start a total of ten games. Maybe in his eighth season he finally puts it all together? If he finds success, it will be well deserved after the way he bounced back this summer.