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December 19, 2013

Jason Witten will become the NFL's iron man for position players in consecutive games played after London Fletcher's retirement

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher is the NFL's current iron man, but he announced this week that he is "99 percent certain" he will retire at season's end.

Fletcher's departure would leave Cowboys tight end Jason Witten as the NFL's iron man for consecutive games played among position players. He has played in 169 games in a row.

"Obviously, anything labels you as just getting older, getting up there," Witten said Thursday. "It is hard to play consistently and at a high level like he has every week, week in and week out. I’ve been fortunate to be healthy, and that’s a big part of it. Obviously, London, that’s just unbelievable at that position to do it as long as he’s done it."

Fletcher has played in 254 consecutive games, including 213 consecutive starts.

Witten has missed only one game in his career. He sat out the Arizona game in 2003 after breaking his jaw and undergoing surgery that required three plates. Witten has not missed a start since 2006.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning has made 149 consecutive starts, the second-longest such active streak in the NFL behind Fletcher.

"London’s a great competitor," Witten said. "He kind of defeats all the football odds. He’s not big. He’s not overly fast. But he’s just a great football player and he’s done it for a long, long time. I heard about his starts streak. It’s hard to play that many games and that’s all you need to know about a guy like that is every Sunday he comes and he brings it. Just a true pro. Great player and obviously a great career. I’ve enjoyed going against him the last seven or eight years and just a great competitor."

-- Charean Williams

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