The end of an era.
On October 9th, 2012 Kevin Faulk will officially retire after 13 seasons in the NFL. The 36 year old running back spent his entire tenure with the New England Patriots, and over his long career he amassed a rather interesting collection of peculiar stats from the half a dozen different positions he played.
He never got as much playing time as Wes Welker, he was never as famous as Gronkowski, but he defined Patriots football possibly better than Belichick himself could. It is for this sole reason I present to you three reasons why Kevin Faulk was one of the best football players to ever step onto the field, and why the likes of such may never be seen again.
1. The Jack of all Trades
If Belichick needed a guy to return a punt, he called up Faulk. If he needed a guy to convert a third down, he called up Faulk. If he needed a guy to clean his gutters, he called up Faulk. Kevin did it all. He played slot receiver, kick returner, fullback, halfback, tailback, and even once he got to play quarterback (completing a 23 yard pass to none other than Tom Brady). Kevin’s ability to play so many positions made him invaluable to the Patriots. Much more so than people ever realized. One can make the argument that he was a bit like a swiss army knife, he did a lot of things ok, but never one thing really well. That may be true, but when Faulk suffered an ACL injury early in the 2010 season vs the Jets - the only way the Patriots were able to fill his role was by using a combination of Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, and Julian Edelman.
2. “You talk low, you talk slow, and you don’t talk too much”
The modern NFL is filled with players and coaches alike who love to get attention. Good or bad, everyone wants to be the story of the week. One can sense the hysteria that surrounds an NFL game, and it is easy to see how players can get distracted.
Faulk however was never one of those players. He never made bombastic claims to the media, he never gave himself any stupid nicknames, and he certainly never signed away his dignity in order to sell breakfast sandwiches or poorly built cars. He was a football player, through and through. He let his play do the talking, and while his lack of media presence may have hurt his T-shirt sales and ruined his chance at becoming a pundit, Faulk can quietly sit back and relish in the fact that so many players said a whole lot more, and did a whole lot less.
3. Endeavor to Persevere
Playing professional football is not easy, especially if you're playing for the Patriots.
Dozen of guys who were incredibly talented and played loyally to the organization have been cut or traded to other teams. Guys like Mike Vrabel, Lawyer Milloy and David Givens all served the team well. They played marvelously in Superbowl games but will never be able to retire as Patriots. Faulk will, and that says something.
When you play for a coach like Bill Belichick, your job is always on the line. Every game could be your last, regardless of who you are. Throughout his career Kevin Faulk proved to Belichick time and time again that he needed him, and if you don’t think that's right all you have to do is look at the roster. The only player to last longer under Bill Belichick was Tom Brady. Need I say more?
O’YEAH THAT 4TH AND 2 CALL WAS FUCKING BULLSHIT!