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Rams' Faulk Knows Clock Ticking on Career

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  • Rams' Faulk Knows Clock Ticking on Career

    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."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Proving Ground: Faulk ready to show he can still excel
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Friday, Aug. 27 2004

    Only three players in NFL history have scored more touchdowns than Marshall
    Faulk. Only five players have more yards from scrimmage. Just 13 have more
    rushing yards. So there is no doubting Faulk's greatness, or his eventual spot
    in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    But over the past two seasons, Faulk's rushing totals have decreased while his
    number of knee surgeries mounted. From a career-high 1,382 rushing yards for
    the Rams' 2001 Super Bowl team, Faulk dipped to 953 yards in '02. In 2003, a
    season in which Faulk missed a career-high five games due to injury, the total
    dropped to 818 yards.

    But for those questioning Faulk's future in the game at age 31, Rams defensive
    captain Tyoka Jackson has this message:

    "Keep doing it," Jackson says. "Keep saying all that stuff. 'Marshall's old.
    He's done.' Keep saying it. And just watch and see what happens."

    Just don't say it to Faulk.

    When an out-of-town reporter recently asked Faulk if he could get back to his
    former level of play, Faulk shot back: "I never thought I left."

    Faulk followed up by asking the reporter: "Hey, how long have you been doing
    this? Does your finger hurt? Does your hand hurt from writing?"

    Of course, taking notes doesn't normally involve gang-tackling, collisions or
    pass- blocking, something Faulk has been a part of for 10 NFL seasons - going
    on 11.

    But Faulk is a fiercely proud man, and he has earned that right based on his
    career accomplishments. Doubts?

    "It's hard to doubt greatness," said running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery,
    once an elite back himself. "Any time someone achieves what he has achieved,
    it's hard to put a question mark on it, hard to say, 'Hey, I doubt that this
    guy can do it.'

    "Marshall is going to be the guy to tell us when he can't do it. I go in every
    day, and every practice, every meeting, knowing that he's the guy. And that he
    can do it."

    And now, with the regular season quickly approaching, it's just about time to
    do it again.

    "I'm grinding away at it, getting back into the flow of things," Faulk said
    after his preseason debut Monday in Kansas City. "There's a conditioning factor
    that I'm working on. . . .You never know in this offense until your number's
    called five, six, seven times in a row if you are in the condition you want to
    be. But that's something that's going to come as I get my carries throughout
    the preseason, and throughout the year."

    The Rams have brought Faulk along carefully...
    -08-29-2004, 11:57 AM
  • 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, 05:22 AM
  • RamWraith
    Faulk plays a realist in his new role
    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."

    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...
    -11-20-2005, 08:20 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, 02:46 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, 06:01 AM