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  • Faulk talks as though he's retired

    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 organization and remains on the team's reserve-physically unable to perform list. He is due $2 million this year, which a high-ranking team official referred to as a "soft landing" into retirement -- a kind of going-away present from the franchise to Faulk.

    Faulk certainly earned the money, helping turn around what had been the NFL's losingest franchise in the 1990s after being traded to the Rams from Indianapolis in 1999.

    On the NFL's career lists, Faulk ranks fourth in touchdowns (136), ninth in yards rushing (12,279), fourth in yards from scrimmage (19,154) and, as a testament to his versatility, ranks 16th in receptions (767).

    From 1999 through 2001, he was a focal point of the Greatest Show on Turf, one of the greatest offenses in football history.

    "I've been fortunate," Faulk said. "The position that I play is a heavy, heavy impact position. You just can't expect a long life span out of it. There's a lot of luck that's involved, and I've had a lot of it. If there's a little bit of unfortunate luck right now that I can't (come) back, then so let it be. I am happy with it."

    Since the end of last season, Faulk has spent most of his time living in California. He doesn't figure to be around the Rams much this season.

    "I will catch some games, especially the West Coast games," Faulk said. "I'll try to attend them, if possible. I'll be in St. Louis sometimes. To be honest, I want to be around. . . . I love being around the game. I love the guys that I played with. I love St. Louis."

    Faulk said he will continue to keep his charitable foundation running in St. Louis. He is interested in trying to bring an Arena Football League franchise to St. Louis as part of the ownership group.

    At the same time, Faulk said, "I want to learn my gig at the network. I want to be the best that I can."

    That may take away from any opportunities to be in St. Louis or spend time with the Rams.

    "In talking about St. Louis . . . I think the thing that I will remember most is my first preseason game there, having the game look like Thursday night's game as you saw with the crowd," Faulk said.

    There were 20,000 to 25,000 empty seats last Thursday for the Rams' exhibition opener, against visiting Indianapolis.

    "As we went through the (1999) season from that game on up until maybe the last game that I played in St. Louis, it being sold out was just phenomenal," Faulk said. "Just to watch the city and the fans get behind us and the support that they gave us for the seven years that I was there was just great."

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  • RamWraith
    Faulk Prepares for Life After Football
    by RamWraith
    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner

    Senior Writer

    Marshall Faulk began preparing for life after the NFL a long time ago. Now, he is beginning the adjustment of what life away from the league will be like.

    Faulk will make his debut on NFL Network this evening at 7 on the network’s signature show “NFL Total Access.” Faulk will serve as an analyst on the show this season as he sits out the year following offseason knee surgery.

    “I had come to grips with that a long time ago,” Faulk said Wednesday. “I gave myself five years then I gave myself 10 years and I ended up playing 12. I have been fortunate. The position I have played is a heavy impact position. You just can’t expect a long life span out of it. There is a lot of luck that is involved. I have had a lot of it. There is a little bit of unfortunate luck right now that I can’t come back so let it be. I am happy with it.”

    While Faulk has stopped short of declaring his NFL career over, he does have another year after this on his contract, it certainly appears that it’s a realistic possibility that he has played his final NFL game. Still, Faulk said he is leaving the door open for a return to the Rams next season.

    “The knee is coming along slowly,” Faulk said. “I am rehabbing right now. I’m just taking it easy. That’s all.

    I’m taking it year to year. I am working out. I am rehabbing. 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.”

    Faulk had reconstructive knee surgery on July 28 in Los Angeles , putting to rest any hopes of his playing this season. The Rams announced on July 21 that Faulk will be having surgery and wouldn’t play this year.

    According to Faulk, though, that surgery might not have gone as well as hoped and there could be more surgery in his future.

    At 33, Faulk knows that he has to start thinking about more than playing football again. The move to the NFL Network was the first step, but it could also determine how many more knee operations a running back with over 20,000 total yards of tread on his tires can handle.

    “I’m going to take the next two to three months and rehab this thing and see how it goes,” Faulk said. “If this procedure doesn’t (make it) better and what I had done doesn’t get (the knee) better, then obviously…and not just for football but for life. I’ll have to have something else done.”

    As speculation ran rampant in the offseason about Faulk’s future, he said he didn’t let any outside sources bother him. He contends that he didn’t make up his mind about his NFL future until a few days before the announcement by the...
    -08-16-2006, 06:24 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
  • 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
  • RamWraith
    No decision on retiring, Faulk says
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Tuesday, Jun. 13 2006

    For the past few years, Marshall Faulk has heard the question of retirement as
    a whisper. Recently, though, the question has grown louder and more persistent
    because of the departure of Mike Martz, the arrival of Scott Linehan and a knee
    that has been slow to respond to treatment.

    "When you get to Year 13, when you get a coaching change, you look at the
    bigger picture of things," Faulk said. "You say, 'Are we going to be playing
    for a championship?' If that doesn't seem possible, then you start thinking
    about other things. It's a thought that for the last two or three years has
    crept into my mind."

    The answer to the question remains elusive, Faulk said, despite rumors that he
    already has made up his mind.

    "That's second-hand. It didn't come from me," he said. As for an answer, he
    said, "There's no timetable."

    Faulk spoke at his fund-raising tournament Monday at Old Hickory Golf Club, the
    proceeds of which will be used for his charitable endeavors in St. Louis. Among
    the invitees were teammates Marc Bulger, Torry Holt and Dane Looker, as well as
    Grant Fuhr, Eric Dickerson and LaDanian Thomlinson. Despite the injury and some
    decent golfers in the crowd, Faulk expected to hold his own on the course.

    Walking and golf are "not cumbersome to my knees at all," he said. "I can run
    straight ahead. It's side to side that caused the setback. Other than that, I'm

    Faulk underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knees over the winter. One knee has
    responded; the other hasn't. The injury prevented Faulk from participating in
    Rams' minicamp over the weekend and is one of the major reasons the question of
    retirement looms larger than in the past.

    "I'm kind of a foreigner to my own body," he said. "I thought I knew this piece
    of work here. As you get a little older, you kind of become a little distant
    with your body. You wake up, and things don't feel the way they used to."

    Learning from the past, Faulk said, he decided not to rush back from surgery.
    "The thing that I'm not doing that I used to do is accelerate it, do more to
    get back quicker," he said. "I've done that. I've had surgery in the season,
    come back and played. I don't think I could do that right now. I'm really
    taking my time with it and allowing it to let me know, 'We can go,' or 'We

    Faulk said the timetable for recovery could extend beyond the opening of
    training camp in late July.

    "I don't know if you can say, 'Hey, knee, you've got to be ready by camp,'"...
    -06-13-2006, 05:01 AM
  • 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