London legacy

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post) Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said that he expects to continue to share playing time with backup Nick Barnett for the duration of the season, and that he believes that plan will help him remain more effective throughout games. Fletcher the leagues active Iron Man, having played 243 consecutive games has previously very rarely left the field during games. But on Sunday, the 16th-year veteran watched from the sidelines for a total of eight plays during a stint in the first quarter and again early in the third quarter. Barnett, himself an 11th-year veteran and starter for his entire career before signing with Washington this season, took his place. Fletcher said of the shared playing time, I decided to take myself out. It was my game plan. But Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday, To be honest with you, weve been talking about giving London a few plays off. We dont want to overwork him, especially with the offenses we go against nowadays with the hurry-up and the no-huddle, Shanahan said. Id like to give him a few more plays off, not to just wear him down. Thats what happened yesterday. I think he got a few in the second half. I was hoping that Nick would get a few in the first half, but were trying to keep London at 100 percent and we dont want to set him back at all. Fletcher, who the week before had struggled to shed blocks and recorded only one solo tackle and one assist while playing all 72 defensive snaps most of them no-huddle, said that he should have taken himself out of a portion of each of the first two games.

Ike Taylor gets playful as Steelers arrive in London


“I wouldn’t like it,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “I just, I wouldn’t. It’d be really tough.” Said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, “It’d be rough. Luckily, I’m in Pittsburgh, so I don’t have to worry about that.” Tomlin said he hasn’t considered the idea because “(i)t doesn’t involve me.” Told that it might one day, Tomlin responded with a smile, “I doubt it.” Perhaps Taylor could lead the way. He said he’s a fan of soccer (or, as he’d probably say, futbol) and in particular Argentine star Lionel Messi, who plays for FC Barcelona. “Should I be saying that here?” Taylor asked. He hopes to “bring a little London swag back to America” with a shopping trip before kickoff. And Taylor has one other item to check off his list. “I’ll tell you what,” Taylor said. “I would love to meet the Queen the head lady.” PHOTOS: NFL GOES OVERSEAS The NFL has returned to London with the Vikings and Steelers set to meet at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 29. But the league has been featuring its product abroad for decades. Lefteris Pitarakis, AP Big Ben poses in front of Big Ben. Yes, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger did his share of offseason promotional work in London, including this shot in front of his namesake, to market the league. Lefteris Pitarakis, AP Fullscreen The Jaguars and 49ers will meet in London on Oct. 27, marking the first time two games have been played there in the same season.

“Before the Games I didn’t really meet anyone who knew that much about rowing. But (since) I’ve met so many people who have an interest in and follow rowing, and a lot of people who have started rowing. “I’ve spoken to a lot of coaches and pretty much every single club in the country has been oversubscribed with people wanting to start rowing. The only reason they can’t take on more people is because they either haven’t got the coaching or the equipment. Golden girls: Helen Glover (L) and Heather Stanning won GB’s first gold medal of 2012 “So many people are wanting to start rowing, I get so many tweets and meet people who are telling me about their sons, daughters, aunties, uncles… “I have noticed a lot more people having an interest and having a go.” She added: “Before I started rowing I was a PE teacher, so I’ve seen first-hand the difference sport can make to young people’s lives – confidence, social life, everything.” Christiansen, Glover and Baker given honours Although Glover remained at the top of her event in the year following the Olympics she was forced to join forces with a new partner after the Games as Stanning returned to the army. On the surface it seemed like the transition to new crew-mate Polly Swann was a seamless one, the British duo going unbeaten in 2013 and capping the year by winning the coxless pairs world title in Chungju. But Glover says: “It was a really tough year for me (since London 2012), especially up until Christmas. “Coming back after the Olympics you have this massive come down from what you experienced at the Games. Tough “And then with Heather Stanning going off and joining the army and me being on my own, for the first six months it was really tough motivating myself. From January onwards Polly and I got in the pairs together and gradually it became easier and easier.

“We’re not going to keep doing it if we don’t have the impact we’re looking for. Now, if we have a good experience with the two, we’d like to have two games next year, and the question is whether we can play more than two. You also have to have teams that want to participate. The more fans we get, the more confident we get, the more opportunity we’ll have to bring the real game.” Remember, it took six years to add a second game. Adding a third soon would be, well, kind of quick. For all the progress, there’s still a long way to go. Media coverage has increased, but the game hardly is front-page news in England. Last year, the fact that Gisele Bundchen’s husband was in town was a bigger hook as a storyline than the fact the guy in question ( Tom Brady ) is a pretty prominent player for a pretty important team in the game. Additionally, the UK isn’t even the NFL’s strongest international market — or even close. USA Football numbers show that Canada, Mexico and Japan sit on a second tier, and Germany, Austria and France are on the third tier, with the UK behind that. But because of the marketplace, the business opportunities, the proximity, the logistics of TV distribution and the lack of a language barrier, London has become the NFL’s guinea pig, with the league committed to getting it right there before using the blueprint elsewhere. The NFL has an exclusive deal with Wembley Stadium through 2016, which means all its games in the UK must be played there and that the league probably won’t look elsewhere globally until at least 2017. 2013 International Series Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings from across the pond. All this will make the next few years interesting. The league now has three owners who also own Premier League teams (Stan Kroenke, Shad Khan, Malcolm Glazer), and one of those owners, Khan, has committed his club, the Jacksonville Jaguars , to playing in London this year and each of the next three years.