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  1. #16
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    Faulk closes book on playing career

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/27/2007


    PHOENIX — Marshall Faulk said it was at a luncheon in his honor earlier this offseason in St. Louis when he came to grips with retirement.

    "A very good friend of mind told me, 'There's not that many 34-year-old running backs that come back to play,''' Faulk recalled Monday. "I started thinking about it. It's a tough position to play."

    Faulk, who turned 34 on Feb. 26, played it as well as anyone in the history of the game. And did so in his own distinct style.

    "The (competitive) instinct, it never goes away," Faulk said. "That fire never dies. But in my training — where I wanted to be, how I wanted to feel — those things weren't coming around as fast as I wanted them to."
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    In short, a series of knee injuries and knee operations over the years finally caught up with him.

    In the final analysis, Faulk simply felt he couldn't tell coach Scott Linehan that he would be able to finish the season if he returned in 2007.

    "If I felt like there was any doubt that I could finish a season, then I shouldn't go out," Faulk said. "Because I would not only be cheating myself, I'd be cheating other guys on that team that were depending on me to do a job. If I couldn't accomplish the task, why even start it?"

    So after 12 NFL seasons, seven Pro Bowls, two Super Bowls, 136 touchdowns and nearly 20,000 yards of offense, Faulk is finished as a player. Although the story of his retirement leaked out late last week, Monday marked Faulk's first public comments on the topic.

    Rams brass turned out in full force for Faulk's news conference at the NFL owners' meeting. Part owner Stan Kroenke, President John Shaw, president of football operations Jay Zygmunt, executive vice president Bob Wallace, Linehan and Chip Rosenbloom (son of team owner Georgia Frontiere) were on hand.

    Watching Faulk over the years in St. Louis "was unbelievable," Kroenke said. "And what a classy guy. I've always enjoyed Marshall on a personal level."

    "Just my luck, I didn't get to coach him," Linehan said. "But I'm certainly happy for him that he's able to walk away from the game pretty healthy and with a pretty unbelievable résumé."

    "His performances were legendary," Zygmunt said. "He did things with the football in his hand, whether it was from behind the line of scrimmage or down the field, that were just dazzling. ... He was an artist, and painted great pictures on the football field. Those memories, and the visions of him doing that, will forever be etched in my mind."

    The Rams were laughingstocks of the NFL, in the midst of nine straight losing seasons, when Faulk was acquired in a trade with Indianapolis before the 1999 NFL draft. But there was cause for optimism that preseason, what with the acquisition of Faulk, the signing of free agents Trent Green and Adam Timmerman, and the drafting of Torry Holt.

    Those hopes came crashing down in late August of that year, when San Diego safety Rodney Harrison came crashing into the legs of Green during an exhibition game. The result was a season-ending knee injury to Green.

    In his most poignant comments ever on the subject, Faulk blamed himself Monday for Green's injury.

    "I felt personally responsible," Faulk said. "When you play preseason games, most of the time, there's this rule with players: When you're blocked, you're blocked. I'm not going to cut (block) you. ... When you get to Year 4 or 5, you want to get through preseason (healthy.)"

    Faulk thought he had blocked a blitzing Harrison well enough on the play. But Harrison sprung forward after the block and lunged at Green's knee.

    "From that point forward, it was on me," Faulk said. "I felt like personally — some way, somehow — this team has to win. Whether it was through practice or through playing, I wanted to make sure that I set an example as to how we were going to play. What kind of team we were going to be."

    With an obscure backup, Kurt Warner, taking over at quarterback, the Greatest Show on Turf was born.

    With Faulk as the centerpiece of a potent offense, the Rams scored 500-plus points for an unprecedented three straight seasons, going to two Super Bowls and winning one. Faulk said even all the outrageous offensive numbers didn't do justice to what the Rams accomplished from 1999 through 2001.

    "We were a special group," Faulk said. "A bunch of guys, you could almost classify them as misfits. Guys that other teams looked at as guys who couldn't get it done, or hadn't yet. We pulled together and did something remarkable."

    With Faulk, of course, in the center of it all.


  2. #17
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    Re: Faulk retirement articles and comments

    Marshall's Milestones Highlights from Marshall Faulk's 12-year NFL career

    03/27/2007

    For openers

    Faulk starts his NFL career in 1994 with a bang, rushing for 143 yards and a Colts rookie-record 3 TDs in the season opener against Houston.

    Hello, St. Louis

    With an estimated 10,000 Rams fans making the trek to Indianapolis in 1995 to watch their surprising 4-0 team, Faulk bursts their bubble with 177 yards and 3 TDs, leading the Colts to a 21-18 triumph.
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    The 2,000-yard club

    Faulk sets a Colts single-season record with 2,227 yards from scrimmage in 1998. It's the first of an unprecedented four straight seasons with 2,000-plus yards from scrimmage.

    Hello, St. Louis II

    In what has been called the greatest St. Louis sports trade since baseball's Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, the Rams acquire Faulk from Indy on April 15, 1999, for a second- and a fifth-round draft pick.

    Bad news, Bears

    Chicago tries to cover Faulk with a linebacker in a game Dec. 26 during the magical 1999 Super Bowl season. Faulk responds with a career-high 204 receiving yards en route to a 1,000-yard rushing and 1,000-yard receiving season.

    Touchdown, Faulk

    En route to what was then an NFL single-season record for TDs (26), Faulk scores four times (for the second week in a row) in a memorable 38-35 Monday night loss at Tampa Bay on Dec. 18, 2000.

    Super in the Superdome

    With the Rams needing a victory and help to scratch out a wild-card playoff berth, Faulk gets them there with a career-high 220 yards rushing in the 2000 regular-season finale at New Orleans.

    Playoff pinnacle

    For all his accomplishments, Faulk never had rushed for 100 yards in the postseason ... until he put 159 yards on Philadelphia in the 2001 season's NFC championship game.

    The 100-yard club

    En route to the 2003 NFC West title, Faulk logs four straight 100-yard rushing games during a seven-game winning streak in November and December.

    The last hurrah

    Faulk posts the last of his 41 regular-season 100-yard rushing games, gaining 139 in a Nov. 14, 2004 victory over Seattle.

    The last hurrah II

    Faulk scores the last of his 136 regular-season TDs on a 13-yard reception from Marc Bulger on Sept. 25, 2005 against Tennessee.

    In conclusion

    Faulk finishes his career with 12,279 yards rushing, 6,875 yards receiving and 136 rushing/receiving TDs.

  3. #18
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    Re: Faulk retirement articles and comments

    and rumor has it that he "scored" in STL as much off the field as on the field.

    Ah, the life of a major NFL star.

  4. #19
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    Re: Faulk retirement articles and comments

    BTW, nice job in displaying the terrific images of Marshall in every page! :r Thanks.

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