The rookie undrafted free agent was on the roster bubble, and with the Patriots set to make nearly two dozen cuts by Saturday afternoon, Fletcher was very much curious about his employment status. More than that, he didn’t know if he was supposed to get a phone call, or a sympathy card or some sort of singing telegram.
So, Fletcher just went about his day, worked out extra early Friday and Saturday morning and kept a watchful eye over his shoulder. Eventually, though, when the stress level boiled over, Fletcher buckled and asked assistant coach Brian Flores what exactly was happening.
"There's not really any congratulations," said Fletcher, who earned a spot on the active roster. "Because I had to know, I asked [Flores], 'What's the deal? Am I still around?' It makes you sick just sitting there wondering. I came in early both days of cuts. I couldn’t sleep all night. It makes you sick, so I just came in early, got two workouts in and I asked, 'Coach, am I cut?'
"He goes, 'You're never on the team. Understand that right now.' That’s actually really good advice, and I took that to heart. I might be around today, but I'm never on the team. I've just got to live like that and just go out and grind every day in practice and play as though it may be my last. And it might be."
It's a pretty pessimistic way to look at things, but it's the cold reality for players in Fletcher's position. Sure, he's on the team now, and it's a great story, but with so many roster moves going down this week across the league, Fletcher knows he could be the odd man out if the Patriots reel in a waiver pickup.
After all, 2009 third-round draft pick and fellow linebacker Tyrone McKenzie made it through the initial round of roster cuts, but hours later, he was dumped in favor of an undrafted offensive lineman who played tight end until a few months ago.
"I've got a couple buddies that play in the NFL," Fletcher said. "They all told me right away, 'Once you get there, enjoy every day and appreciate every day, but understand that you can be gone the next day.' I took that to heart, and I feel like that’s one reason why I may still be around because I keep grinding every day, and I work as hard as I can, try to learn every night.
"I'm in here early and leave late, and that’s how you stick around hopefully."
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