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  • Faulk’s opportunity

    Faulk’s opportunity
    Lafayette native finally gets shot with St. Louis.
    Eric Narcisse
    [email protected]
    August 13, 2004
    .photocontainer{ width: 201px; } When Trev Faulk went undrafted in the 2002 NFL draft, it was definitely a humbling experience for the former Lafayette High and LSU Tigers star.

    But that didn’t deter him from continuing to strive for what he felt he deserved...an opportunity.

    After not being given an opportunity to prove he can accomplish all of the things he did in both high school and in college in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, Faulk believes that he is finally getting that opportunity — with the St. Louis Rams.

    “This is all that I have ever wanted from the teams I have been with,” Faulk said. “A true opportunity to show what I can do. And St. Louis is giving me that opportunity.”

    Faulk, who joined the Rams on New Year’s Eve after they signed him from the Cardinals’ practice squad, is currently second at middle linebacker on the Rams’ depth chart behind Robert Thomas.

    “Training camp is going really well for me right now,” Faulk said. “I’m getting the necessary reps to really compete for a job. It’s just great to know that I’m actually getting looked at by the coaches.”

    After Saturday’s scrimmage against the Chicago Bears in which Faulk started at middle linebacker in place of the hurt Thomas, head coach Mike Martz praised him for his play.

    “Trev Faulk has really, really stepped through and done a terrific job in camp,” Martz said. “I’m anxious to see him play.”

    The 6-3, 240-pound Faulk believes that he made an impression on more than the Rams’ coaching staff with his performance against the Bears.

    “This camp has truly been a blessing,” Faulk said. “Being that I was able to start against the Bears and the fact that I played well, I think they came away pretty impressed also. I’d have to say that right now things are working out well for me.”

    But that wasn’t always the case.

    After he was released by the Cardinals, Faulk thought about giving football up and moving on with the rest of his life.

    “I really considered hanging up my cleats,” Faulk said. “I was really frustrated and I had started working in Baton Rouge, so I was thinking about ending it.”

    So, what stopped him?

    “I knew in my heart that I had not been given an opportunity,” Faulk said. “I also didn’t want any regrets. I didn’t want to be 40 years old and thinking that I should not have quit.”

    Instead of trying to fight through the frustration and disapointment alone, Faulk relied on God and surrounded himself around the people he loved the most to get him through his trials and tribulations.

    “God and my family really helped me get through it all,” Faulk said. “God made me go through all of this to make me the man I am today and to strengthen my faith in him.”

    Faulk, who turned 23-years-old on Friday, says that he is a better person because of what he has endured so far in his young career.

    “Obviously I would have like to have been a first-round pick,” Faulk said. “But there is no doubt that I am better person because of what I have been through. I truly believe that your struggles in life is what make you who you are. My struggles have forced me to lean on God more and that’s good. With that said I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    After leaving the Cardinals once the season ended and returning to his mother’s home in Lafayette, Faulk received a phone call from his agent informing him that the Rams had just signed him off the practice squad.

    “I wasn’t even home for 24 hours,” Faulk said. “I just looked it as a new situation for me, but it definitely was a confidence builder. The Rams could have waited a couple of weeks to sign me, but they did it during their playoff run.”

    Faulk says he entered training camp this year expecting to get the chance that he is receiving.

    “I really came in expecting to make the team this year,” Faulk said. “I’ve been cut three times, but now I’m getting my opportunity. They’ve opened the doors for me and now I really expect to make the team.”

    But what happens if he doesn’t?

    “It will not be the end of me,” Faulk said. “I’ve been blessed enough to play football this long and I was able to use football to pay for my education. Coming out of college I always gave God the credit for my success and my situation shows just how much he controls. But I have other things I can do.”

    Among those things are continuing to work in Baton Rouge and or enrolling into graduate school and working on his master’s degree.

    “I’m trying to have a career in football,” Faulk said. “But if it’s not God’s will then I’ll move on. And I am prepared to move on. Last year or two years ago I don’t think I could handle it, but I can now.”

    In the mean time though, Faulk will continue to try and walk through the doors the Rams have open for him.

    “I have a big chip on my shoulder,” Faulk said. “Since I went undrafted I always said ‘they better not give me a chance’. Because if they do then eyes will be open.”

    __________________________________________________________
    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamDez
    Faulk faces many questions
    by RamDez
    Faulk faces many questions
    By Jim Thomas

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    07/29/2004






    MACOMB, Ill. - How much does he have left?

    How's the right knee?

    Is he about to retire?

    Rams running back Marshall Faulk has heard the questions. He's not sure of the answers himself.
    "Those are good questions," Faulk said. "It's things people should ask. Those are the things that are going to be answered this year. I feel up to the challenge, and we'll find out. As the season goes on, you guys will find out also."

    So how is the knee?

    "I don't know," Faulk said. "I practiced (Wednesday). I looked at (practice) film, and it looked pretty good. Of course, I'm critical about a lot of things that I do. But I felt pretty good about what I did and how my body responded."

    Faulk, 31, had another surgery on the knee during the offseason, fueling rumors that he would retire rather than play the 2004 season. But those rumors were unfounded.

    "I heard about it," Faulk said. "And it was news to me."

    Faulk wouldn't be here at Western Illinois University if he were contemplating retirement. Macomb, after all, isn't high on his list of summer "vacation" spots.

    "I love football," Faulk said. "I think that it's in me. I was given a gift to play this game. Not just a physical gift, but a mental gift to understand it. It's not all that I have. But it's something that I have that I love doing, and I have a passion for it."

    It's just that his passion is always tested in Macomb.

    "It's always at its all-time low at training camp," Faulk said, only half-jokingly. "And it's always high once training camp's over."

    The continuing knee problems have at least prompted him to think about retiring, albeit down the road.

    "This is probably the first year that I've thought, 'Man, if the body isn't acting right, what do I do?' " Faulk said. "Do I fight through it? Or do I not play?

    "That's something that I'm going to have to evaluate at the end of the season similar to what Aeneas (Williams) does."

    For the last several offseasons, Williams, 36, has re-evaluated whether he wants to continue playing. During the offseason Faulk talked to his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, about possibly playing only another year or two.

    After playing at such a high level for most of the past decade, Faulk's body might simply tell him that he no longer can play. That will influence the thought process on retiring.

    "It'll be that," Faulk said, "and if I can accept a lesser role - if that becomes the issue. Or if the situation here dictates that I can't be here any longer. So it's
    ...
    -07-30-2004, 12:47 AM
  • RamWraith
    Faulk talks as though he's retired
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/17/2006

    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
    No decision on retiring, Faulk says
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    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
    fine."

    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
    can't.'"

    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
  • RamWraith
    Faulk plays a realist in his new role
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    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
    explained.

    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
    tears.

    "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
  • 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.

    A MINI REVELATION

    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, 04:44 PM
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