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Faulk plays a realist in his new role

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  • Faulk plays a realist in his new role

    By Bill Coats
    Saturday, Nov. 19 2005

    Marshall Faulk broke into hearty laughter when told that in Joe Vitt's
    estimation, he had the makings of a great coach.

    "I don't know, man," Faulk said, shaking his head. "I don't rule anything out.
    You never know when you're done what you're going to do to combat those
    competitive juices."

    The intensity of those feelings has gripped the New Orleans native for almost
    three decades. "I've played football since I was 6," Faulk said Friday in a
    rare one-on-one interview. "I've put a lot of hours in, a lot of hard work and
    learned a lot of lessons playing this game."

    Now, at age 32 and with 11 1/2 NFL seasons in his rear-view mirror, Faulk peers
    down the road. He ruminates often over how much longer he'll play. "All the
    time," he said. "All the time."

    Faulk came to training camp in top shape mainly because of a surgery-free
    offseason. "I wasn't rehabbing anything; I was just working out," said the
    5-foot-10, 211-pound San Diego State product. "It allowed me to come back
    fresher and feeling better than I've felt in maybe the previous three years."

    He also arrived with a different assignment. Shortly after last season, Faulk
    and coach Mike Martz agreed on a new approach: Let Steven Jackson, the team's
    first-round draft pick in 2004, take over as the No. 1 running back. Faulk
    would have a "significant supporting role" and perhaps extend his career, Martz

    Faulk, who also took a significant pay cut to free up salary-cap space for the
    team, was coming off his least productive season since 1996, his third year
    with Indianapolis. He rushed 195 times for 774 yards and caught 50 passes for
    310 yards in 2004. He scored four touchdowns.

    "You understand the circumstances, and you understand what you can and can't
    do. And that's the reality of it," Faulk said. "You have to come to grips with
    that part of your life, not just in football but in life, and accept that."

    The turning point

    A cathartic episode in 1998 helped cement Faulk's ardent team-first attitude.
    He had piled up 267 yards for Baltimore, but the Colts lost 38-31 after Faulk
    blew a route and Peyton Manning's last-minute pass was intercepted.

    Coach Jim Mora lit into Faulk during the team's tape review the next day.
    Afterward, Faulk slipped into an assistant coach's office and dissolved into

    "I was crushed ... I mean, crushed," he told Sports Illustrated. "I knew ... I
    had let my teammates down, and I knew I never wanted to experience that feeling
    again. In the past, I would've responded, 'Look at the stats; what more could I
    have done?' This time, I knew it wasn't about that.

    "My neglect had affected the team's ability to win. It had probably happened
    before, but this was the first time I felt accountable. It was the first time I
    really cared."

    The Colts, who drafted Faulk second overall in 1994, traded him to the Rams on
    April 15, 1999, for a pair of draft choices. His impact was immediate and

    Faulk rolled up an NFL-record 2,429 total yards (1,381 rushing, 1,048
    receiving) as he and grocery-clerk-turned- quarterback Kurt Warner spearheaded
    a storybook season. The Rams, 4-12 in 1998, went 13-3 and beat Tennessee 23-16
    in Super Bowl XXXIV.

    In seven seasons here, Faulk has set a number of franchise records and pushed
    himself high onto several NFL charts. The seven-time Pro Bowler, named the
    league's MVP after the 2000 season, heads into Sunday's game vs. Warner's
    Arizona Cardinals as the No. 10 rusher in league history (12,129 yards). He has
    18,886 total yards and has scored 135 touchdowns.

    "Smooth transition"

    The numbers Faulk has accumulated this year pale in comparison: 142 rushing
    yards, 173 receiving yards and only one touchdown. Jackson, meanwhile, has 729
    yards on the ground and 263 receiving.

    Yet Faulk has no complaints. "It's fine; it's fine," he said. "Me accepting my
    role and embracing that and doing all that I can to help the team has allowed
    us to be a better offense."

    Jackson said, "It's been a smooth transition."

    Faulk said Jackson "makes it possible for us to work together. Some young guys
    come in and they feel threatened and they feel like they have to be the guy.
    Once he understood that I was only out for the team's best interests, then it
    was easy for he and I to be friends instead of competing against each other."

    Vitt, the Rams' interim head coach, stressed that Faulk is contributing in more
    ways now. "He's one of the all-time great players in this game," Vitt said.
    "And I think what he really does best at this time in his career, he can really
    set protections" in the passing game. Faulk's ability to pick up blitzing
    defenders, grunt work for most running backs, has long been a strong asset.

    Ego vs. reality

    Faulk will decide after the season whether he'll return for another. "I'm year
    to year," he said. When it comes time to walk away, he hopes that it will be
    because he has lost his zest for the game, not because "my physical abilities
    totally deteriorate," he said.

    In any case, he's determined not to join the long line of illustrious athletes
    who stubbornly stuck around longer than they should have and diminished their
    careers in the process. Faulk acknowledged that he took a long stride toward
    the finish line when he stepped aside for Jackson and that he did so without

    "I don't let my ego get in the way of reality," Faulk said. "I understand guys
    who do hold on. You don't want to accept the fact that you haven't take a step
    backward, that Mother Nature has just caught up to you.

    "I just choose not to be one of those guys."

  • #2
    Re: Faulk plays a realist in his new role

    Originally posted by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Saturday, Nov. 19 2005

    Marshall Faulk broke into hearty laughter when told that in Joe Vitt's
    estimation, he had the makings of a great coach.

    "I don't know, man," Faulk said, shaking his head. "I don't rule anything out.
    You never know when you're done what you're going to do to combat those
    competitive juices."
    Haven't I been saying this for a year? I feel great knowing that someone who actually knows the man is thinking the same way....


    • #3
      Re: Faulk plays a realist in his new role

      Your not the only one Sam.I'd also like to throw Aeneas Williams into the coaching mix.


      Related Topics


      • RamWraith
        Faulk's Finest Hour
        by RamWraith
        Wednesday, December 19, 2007

        By Nick Wagoner
        Senior Writer

        Stuck in a dire situation, Marshall Faulk found himself in a form of football purgatory in 1998. After five years in Indianapolis, Faulk had reached his breaking point.

        All of the struggles, all of the mistakes and most of all, all of the losses had finally caused Faulk to go to management and seek something better. Faulk didn’t ask much; it wasn’t about the money. He could have had plenty of that from the Colts.

        What Faulk wanted was a chance to win. So when he received word on April 15, 1999, that he was being sent to the Rams for a second and fifth round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft, Faulk was less than thrilled.

        “My thoughts when I first came to St. Louis weren’t good,” Faulk said. “I felt like I was in a bad situation and the situation in St. Louis wasn’t any better.”

        Considering that in his five seasons in the league, the Rams had won 26 games or six less than the Colts in that same time frame. Of course, Indianapolis had gone 3-13 the two previous seasons and appeared headed nowhere.

        But that didn’t mean Faulk was thrilled with his new home in St. Louis. As Faulk watches his No. 28 jersey raised to the rafters Thursday night, never to be worn by a Ram again, it’s hard not to imagine how he went from unhappy all-star to man of honor.


        Entering the 1999 offseason, the Rams were faced with the task of overhauling a boring offense that scored so little that the scorekeeper at the Edward Jones Dome felt like the Maytag repairman.

        To that end, the Rams aggressively pursued help on the line and at the skill positions. They signed Trent Green to play quarterback and Adam Timmerman at guard. They drafted young receiver Torry Holt out of North Carolina State and hired a young offensive-minded coordinator in the form of Mike Martz.

        While those moves were a step in the right direction, none had the cache that would really draw the attention of landing a Pro Bowl running back such as Faulk. In the days leading to the draft, the Rams finally settled on a deal and Faulk became a Ram.

        With Faulk in the fold, it appeared the Rams had the foundation for an explosive offensive but it remained to be seen how the pieces would come together. Of course, it would have been impossible for those pieces to fit if Faulk never entered the fray.

        Faulk got to St. Louis without a new contract in hand and wasn’t even sure he wanted to be here. After careful consideration, Faulk decided to give the Rams a shot before he made a decision.

        “I took my time and I thought about it and I think the best thing that I did was I decided to go to minicamp and I got a chance to be around the likes of Isaac Bruce, Trent Green, etc,” Faulk said. “I got an opportunity to see that this team was...
        -12-19-2007, 03:44 PM
      • RamDez
        Rams' Faulk Knows Clock Ticking on Career
        by RamDez
        Rams' Faulk Knows Clock Ticking on Career
        By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer

        MACOMB, Ill. — Marshall Faulk has had his share of physical problems over the years>

        He comes into the St. Louis Rams' camp healthy this year. Then again, it's early.

        Entering his 12th NFL season, the 31-year-old running back doesn't know how long his body, and ultimately, his career will last.

        "This is probably the first year I've thought about it like 'Man, if the body isn't acting right, what do I do? Do I fight through it or do I not play?" Faulk said Thursday. "That's something I'm going to have to evaluate after the season."

        After two days of the Rams' workouts, Faulk said he's feeling fine and after watching himself on tape said he looked "pretty good to myself."

        The Rams are taking steps to conserve Faulk, limiting his practice and shutting him down for the morning practice during two-a-day workouts. He likely won't play much in the preseason, either.

        Last year, a bad knee and a broken hand kept Faulk out of five games and limited him to 818 yards rushing and 45 receptions for 290 yards. He had knee surgery in the off season.

        "If he says his knee is a little bit sore and we need to take some time, then that's what we do," coach Mike Martz said. "He knows exactly what he needs to do to get ready."

        Faulk was the NFL MVP in 2000 and from 1998-2001 became the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards rushing and receiving for four consecutive seasons. His contract with the Rams is through 2008.

        St. Louis also is preparing for the end of his prolific career, drafting Oregon State running back Steven Jackson in the first round. Jackson ran for 3,625 yards and 39 touchdowns in three seasons for the Beavers.

        "Having guys behind me that are youthful and that I can pass some information along to and hopefully one day, whether it's here or on another team, they can step in and be the guy, they can look back on some of the things I told them about the game," Faulk said.

        But Faulk said he doesn't plan to go willingly.

        "I love football. It's in me. I was given a gift to play this game, not just the physical gift but a mental gift to understand it," he said. "It's not all that I have but it's something I have that I love doing and I have a passion for."
        -07-29-2004, 02:01 PM
      • RamWraith
        St. Louis fans might have seen the last of Faulk
        by RamWraith
        By Bernie Miklasz

        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....
        -12-25-2005, 04:26 AM
      • RamDez
        Faulk Leads Young RBs
        by RamDez
        Faulk Leads Young RBs
        Thursday, August 19, 2004

        By Nick Wagoner
        Staff Writer

        Marshall Faulk has never been a vocal guy. But, then, he has never had to be. One look at his numbers or any of his game film, and even the casual observer can see that everything he does on the field speaks for itself.

        What do the numbers say? Well, aside from the staggering size of most of them, they don’t simply speak, but scream one thing: Hall of Fame. It’s not debatable whether Faulk is one of the game’s all-time greats; he has racked up 11,213 rushing yards, 6,274 receiving yards and 131 total touchdowns.

        With the shrill pitch those numbers express, it might be easy for Faulk to get complacent and continue the trend. Complacency, though, has never been in Faulk’s dictionary and it isn’t being added this season. The former league MVP and Pro Bowler has accomplished most everything a player can accomplish in the NFL.

        The bad news for the rest of the league is that Faulk appears healthy for the first time in awhile. Coach Mike Martz said he sometimes has to hold back his enthusiasm about Faulk. “He looks like the Marshall of old out here,” Martz said. "He feels so good and when he’s like that we try not to put a damper on it, but we also just want him to be cautious.”

        A nagging knee injury and a hand injury have caused Faulk to miss time in recent years, but he continues to play, not because he wants to prove his doubters wrong, but solely because he loves the game.

        Faulk has never asked himself what more he can accomplish, but he has a few ideas of what he wants to improve on. Faulk is one of the Rams’ captains this season. Normally, Faulk leads by example and it isn’t hard for him because of his success. Now, with three talented young backs angling to be his heir apparent, Faulk is attempting to take a more vocal role, something he has never done. “When you get in the heat of the battle, there are certain things that only another player can help you with,” Faulk said. “If I do something that’s kind of different, I want them to know what my thoughts were and what I was thinking and try to get them on the same page. “I’m just trying to find a way to become a better leader.”

        While Faulk has spent most of his training camp on the sidelines, ensuring his health for the regular season, he has also provided an ear for his younger counterparts to turn to for advice. Faulk’s wisdom is readily available to Lamar Gordon, Arlen Harris and rookie Steven Jackson. With Faulk and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery — a former Pro Bowl running back for the Philadelphia Eagles — providing the knowledge, the trio of backups has two accomplished runners leading the way.

        Jackson could have easily come to training camp with ideas of displacing Faulk. After all, Jackson was the first running back taken in April’s Draft and there was rampant speculation...
        -08-19-2004, 01:46 PM
      • RamWraith
        Faulk talks as though he's retired
        by RamWraith
        By Jim Thomas

        Although Marshall Faulk didn't officially close the door on his NFL career Wednesday, he sounded very much like a man who has played his last football game.

        On the one hand, Faulk wouldn't eliminate the possibility of playing in 2007.

        "The knee is coming along slowly," Faulk said. "I'm taking it year to year. I'm working out. I'm rehabbing And that's it. If it feels good enough to where I can go out there and feel comfortable with what I can do, then fine. If not, I'm fine. I'm OK."

        On the other hand, Faulk spoke of his playing career in the past tense on several occasions, including when asked if he has come to grips with the fact that his career might be over.

        "I've come to grips with that a long time ago," Faulk said. "I gave myself five years (in the NFL), then I gave myself 10 years, and I ended up playing 12. I've been fortunate."

        Faulk answered questions Wednesday in a conference call to promote his hiring by NFL Network as an analyst. It marked his first comments about his continuing knee problems and the probable end of his NFL career since it was confirmed four weeks ago that he needed more knee surgery and would not play in 2006.

        Exploratory surgery at the end of July revealed that Faulk needed a reconstruction of the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee before he could play again. Faulk said Wednesday that he has yet to decide whether to have the surgery.

        "I'm going to take the next two to three months and rehab this thing and see how it goes," Faulk said.

        If he decides on surgery, Faulk said it will be done "not just for football, but for life."

        After dominating the league at his position for the better part of a decade, Faulk said it hasn't been easy making a definitive decision on his football future.

        "Your emotions get in the way, and your love for the game gets in the way," said Faulk, 33. "What I'm trying to do is just be smart about it. And understand that your body is the ruler. It'll let you know. You only get one to live in. So I have to take care of it the best that I can and do what's best for myself when it comes to that."

        Despite months of speculation about his future following the 2005 season, Faulk said he didn't make up his mind about sitting out this season until the week before training camp.

        "I knew that my knee just wasn't responding the way that I wanted it to," Faulk said. "I was a little down. But I was realistic about it. I knew that there was no way possible for me to play on the leg the way it was at the present time."

        No one in the Rams' organization expects Faulk back in 2007. He is still being paid by the...
        -08-17-2006, 04:22 AM