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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    By Bernie Miklasz
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/24/2005



    If this was Marshall Faulk's final home game, his old friends made sure to mark the moment, this potential passage of time, by saying goodbye to No. 28.

    Wide receiver Isaac Bruce and offensive tackle Orlando Pace, two Rams who have been with Faulk the longest, gave him a hug as a selection of Faulk's career highlights played on the stadium video board at the end of Sunday's 24-20 loss to the San Francisco *****.

    When Faulk came to the Rams in 1999, they were nothing. And he picked up the football and ran to places this franchise had never gone before. The other Rams followed Faulk to two Super Bowls and five trips to the playoffs, and they conspired with him to produce an adventure-ride, thrill-a-minute offense.

    And now as Faulk walked off his home field for perhaps the last time as a Ram, the full-circle aspect of his career came to a close. In blowing a 20-7 lead, the soft Rams allowed no-name running backs to become Jim Brown and Gale Sayers for the day. The loss squished the Rams' record to 5-10, and they are nothing again, just as they were before Faulk entered the building in 1999.

    "If it was his last day here, I'm truly embarrassed," Bruce said. "Because it was an embarrassing game. Embarrassing to Marshall and embarrassing to the city of St. Louis.

    "And if this was it for him here, I want to thank him. I'm a fan of football, and a fan of his, and he's done a lot to extend my career. When Marshall came here he made everyone better. He made his teammates better. He made his coaches better coaches. He put the organization on another level, as far as being a top-flight organization."

    Don't close the door to The Ed just yet. Faulk could return in 2006. If he retires, or if he's released or traded, the Rams would absorb a salary-cap hit of about $4 million. It makes more sense (and dollars) to ask him to continue in a reserve role behind Steven Jackson. And Faulk still has an urge to play.

    "Right now I feel like I do," Faulk said. "But I'm going to sit down when the season's over and make a decision. It's hard to say. I've been playing football for a long time, and it's something that I love doing. To just give you a quick answer after a hard loss to a division opponent, wouldn't even be right."

    Faulk surely must believe he has something to offer a team willing to tap into his rushing-receiving skills. Finishing his 12th NFL season, Faulk has lost speed, and his knees can't physically endure the punishment of handling the ball 20, 25 times a game.

    That said, he isn't John Unitas stumbling around in a San Diego Chargers uniform, or Joe Namath limping to the line of scrimmage for the Los Angeles Rams. Faulk can still play, still go, still make a difference if used properly. The Rams didn't utilize him enough this season.

    And with a new head coach coming in, who knows how Faulk would fit? And if he hooks up with another team, does he really want to be a backup, sitting around, waiting for his number to be called?

    There's still some magic in Faulk, as he proved last week with an exciting eruption of offense against Philadelphia. But the coaches inexplicably replaced him with the obscure Arlen Harris before the final drive. The Rams were down by a point and desperately needed someone to make a play, but Faulk was ignored. It was a humiliating low for a proud competitor.

    Sunday against the *****, common sense finally prevailed, and Faulk was in the middle of the action as the Rams tried to rally in the final minutes. He caught four passes on the final possession until the ***** sealed the win by intercepting Rams quarterback Jamie Martin.

    Faulk experienced a rush of emotion as he tried to process the finality of the loss and the confusion of an uncertain future. Was this the last home stand for him? The End?

    "You always think about that," Faulk said. "A new coach coming in, a new situation, you never know. I've been around this game long enough to know anything can happen. And understanding that it's a possibility. Nobody can guarantee you. That's just how it is."

    Part of him never wants to say goodbye. "I love football," Faulk said. "Not just playing it, but football - period. To watch it, at any level, regardless of who's playing. Peewee, high school, JFL, whatever. I love playing it."

    And oh, how he's played this game. Faulk's Hall of Fame credentials are firmly established. On the NFL charts Faulk ranks ninth in career rushing yards, first in career receiving yards by a running back, fourth in career touchdowns, sixth in combined career yards, fourth in career yards from scrimmage, 14th in career receptions.

    When the Rams flying around and averaging 32.6 points a game from 1999 through 2001, Faulk scored 59 touchdowns, accumulated 6,765 yards from scrimmage and was named the league's offensive player of the year three years in a row.

    The Rams gave Indianapolis two draft picks - a No. 2 and a No. 5 - for Faulk. Other than Brock for Broglio, there wasn't a better trade in St. Louis sports history.

    "You make a move, and you're not sure how it's going to go and what's going to happen," Faulk said. "Nothing is guaranteed ... all the people who came through here and played with us that had good times and bad times and the Super Bowls and all the other things that go along with playing this game - I appreciate playing with them. And it was fun."

    Is that goodbye?

    We don't know.

    But know this: Marshall Faulk is the greatest NFL player St. Louis ever had.


  2. #2
    maineram's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    AMEN !!!!!

    I hope Faulk sticks around here, the new staff could use his leadership through this transition period.
    and out of the ashes rise ...The Breakfast Club !

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
    AvengerRam is online now Moderator Emeritus
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    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    Great. Now if Faulk does retire, Bernie will claim he "scooped" the story.

    Of course, I've been saying it for weeks.

  4. #4
    RamsFan16's Avatar
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    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    He will come back for one more season.
    RamsFan16

  5. #5
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    I would like to Marshall return to play. If he doesn't, I do not want to see him in another team's uniform. Hopefully, he will stay with the Rams in a coaching capacity.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    bruce_wannabe Guest

    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    i hope to god he stays with the rams for one more season

  7. #7
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    Re: St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk

    What a great thread ...Bernie this was well writen , ALmost had tears coming down my face ... I hope and pray he comes back
    for one more year and coaches the running backs thats the way should be for MARSHALL , MARSHALL , MARSHALL ...
    Last edited by OldRamsfan; -12-26-2005 at 02:14 AM.

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