Chargers Get Fletcher To Complete Trade

The San Diego Chargers have acquired cornerback Jamar Fletcher, a former first-round pick from the Miami Dolphins, to complete the trade for wide receiver David Boston.

Jamar Fletcher is a former first-round choice taken by Miami in 2001 with the 26th overall selection.

They reportedly took Fletcher after giving serious consideration to quarterback Drew Brees.

In the hours leading up to the 26th pick of the 2001 NFL Draft, the Dolphins' braintrust held "hours of discussion" in deciding between Wisconsin cornerback Jamar Fletcher or Purdue quarterback Drew Brees.

"It was a very difficult decision. It came down to those will be our two choices. I can't remember if Chris Chambers was in there, too," said Rick Spielman, vice president of football operations and player personnel.

The Dolphins had just come off an 11-5 season in which Jay Fiedler, in the first season of a three year contract, completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,402 yards and 14 touchdowns with 14 interceptions as Miami won the AFC East title.

Prior to the draft, Wannstedt also signed free-agent quarterback Ray Lucas to back up Fiedler. He was concerned that by drafting a potential franchise quarterback, he would shatter Fiedler's confidence.

On draft day the Dolphins phoned the Chargers asking if the Chargers were interested in trading for their pick at No. 26. General Manager John Butler calmly answered yes, then hung up and waited.

Suddenly the Dolphins were on the clock and nary had a phone call been made to Butler.

Prior to the draft, Brees had heard from his agent and Purdue coach Joe Tiller that Miami was very interested.

"At the 26th pick, I thought, well, that's very viable, especially since I had heard from a lot of good sources that, 'Hey, if you're there, Miami is going to take you,' " Brees said.

"At the time we felt Jay was going to be our quarterback. Drew had a future to be a good quarterback in the league, but Jay was playing well for us and we felt he would continue to improve," said Spielman.

Fletcher ended up being chosen despite Miami having two fantastic corners in Pro Bowler Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain.

"It came down to never having enough good corners," Spielman added. "Knock on wood, if Surtain went down or something happened to Madison, you need someone to step in and play our type of scheme."

Thus the 5-9, 186-pound Fletcher spent his career with Miami as a backup. He had his best season for the Dolphins in 2002 when he had 39 tackles and a pair of interceptions while starting four of 16 games.

"Jamar played behind a pair of Pro Bowl players in Miami," said Chargers general manager A.J. Smith. "We think he's a player with a lot of upside and a change of scenery will help jump-start his career."

Fletcher was selected in the first-round after an All-America career at the University of Wisconsin in which he set a school-record with 21 interceptions. He made himself available for the NFL Draft after his junior season when he earned the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and was named the Big Ten Conference's Defensive Player of the Year. He earned All-America honors after each of his three seasons and all three years he led the Big Ten with seven interceptions.


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