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  • Faulk steps back to keep going

    Faulk steps back to keep going

    By Larry Weisman, USA TODAY

    ST. LOUIS — Every picture tells a story, and sometimes it's a sad one. There is Emmitt Smith, wearing the red jersey of the Arizona Cardinals. Franco Harris squeezing out a few last carries with the Seattle Seahawks. O.J. Simpson, forlorn in a San Francisco 49ers uniform. They forged their reputations in one place and diminished them in another.

    There will be no such portrait of Marshall Faulk. He understands the limits of the body, the stresses of the game and the value of an exit strategy. That is why he no longer is starting for the St. Louis Rams yet is prolonging his career in order to end it with the club.

    At 32, and beginning his 12th NFL season, Faulk will back up Steven Jackson, the Rams' No. 1 pick a year ago. Maybe St. Louis, which plays its third preseason game tonight against the Detroit Lions, would have made this change anyway, but the impetus came from Faulk, who has failed to start in only five of 160 career games with the Rams and the Indianapolis Colts.

    "I think that in a sense you just have to be honest with yourself and what you can and can't do and understand what you want to get out of this game and what you want to do," Faulk says. "And I want to win. My personal accomplishments aren't as important to me; winning is. I think the combination of myself and Steven gives us, as a team, a better opportunity to win. With the work that he's going to put in, he deserves to be the starter."

    Faulk led the Rams in rushing for a sixth consecutive season in 2004, with a modest 774 yards. It was the third consecutive year he finished below 1,000 and his fewest rushing yards since 1995 with the Colts, when he gained 587. Jackson, playing through a knee injury, showed toughness and an ability to break tackles in rushing for 673 yards and averaging 5.0 yards a carry. Faulk suddenly understood what so many players do not, will not or cannot. So he approached coach Mike Martz to talk about himself and Jackson.

    "Marshall said to me privately, 'It's time, I think.' I said, 'Time for what?' And he said, 'He needs to be the featured guy. And whatever role you want me to do, I'd be happy to do it. It's going to be tough, but I think I can really help him and still have some value for this team.' I couldn't believe it," Martz says. "But that's Marshall. So I got to thinking about it more and more, and I said, 'We're going to do this.' "

    The 5-10, 211-pound Faulk ranks 12th on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 11,987 yards, leads all running backs in career receiving yardage (6,894), is second among backs in receptions (773) and is tied for fourth in touchdowns with 135. The Rams are 27-0 since 1999 when he rushes for 100 yards in a game.

    "A long time ago I made a pact with myself that if you can't do it, you can't do it anymore and you have to leave the game. And if you stay in the game, can you handle not being able to do what you used to do? And I can accept that," Faulk says. "And I also decided that I wanted to be here. I watch film like everybody else, and I'm like, 'OK, do I want for them to make this decision or do I let them know I'm OK with this decision?' And that helps. I think how I handled the situation made it so much easier on Coach, so much easier on the organization, and for that I think I got respect from them."

    As if he didn't have it before. But this, the acknowledgement of time and wear and tear and the right thing to do, adds to his résumé.

    "I think it says a lot about him being unselfish and seeing the talent in Steven himself," says guard Adam Timmerman, an 11-year veteran. "It's good timing. Last year Steven could be his understudy. This year he's still around and can still show him some things, but I'm sure Marshall is going to get some work this year. This will make him stronger for longer."

    Jackson also values the way Faulk went about this, because Faulk remains a part of the offensive package and a mentor, not a vanquished adversary.

    "I want to be able to make Marshall a lifetime friend so that when he's done with the game I can always depend on him and lean on him in a time of need," the 6-2, 231-pound Jackson says. "We all know how smart he is about the game of football. But Marshall is a guy who knows a lot about a lot."

    Especially himself. And about how hard it can be to let go.

    "In my mind and my heart, I feel like I'm the better player," Faulk says. "But I feel like I'm better than anybody who ever played the game, but that's just how it is, that's the only way you can succeed. And in his mind, he (Jackson) feels like he's the better player and the best player who has ever played the position. You have to have that attitude to succeed, but you can't have the ego to the point where you don't understand how him starting and me playing the role helps the team."

    Look for him in passing situations. He'll see spot duty at times when his explosiveness will dovetail with Jackson's power. But don't look for him to start. Expect him to find his new role a little strange at first.

    "Without a doubt," Faulk says. "It's just weird when you hear the ones called out and I still take that step to go because it's always been like that for me. Now I have to hear formations and personnel that dictate when I'm in the game. But it's fine. It's a process."

    Not one many marquee backs specifically ask for at twilight time.

    "It's a real nice complementary mix that I don't know could survive anywhere else," Martz says. "It's very unique because Marshall is unique. I'm not sure Steven totally appreciates what's gone on in his behalf there, but one day he will. One day he will. Marshall is a pretty special guy."
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  • #2
    He is still a better receiver and pass blocker than Jackson. He should be able to contribute in a positive way.
    Go Cards ...12 in 13.


    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TTB@Aug 29 2005, 11:23 AM
      He is still a better receiver and pass blocker than Jackson. He should be able to contribute in a positive way.
      With that attitude, he will contribute in a positive way just by
      being on the team.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Offsides+Aug 29 2005, 12:27 PM-->
        QUOTE(Offsides @ Aug 29 2005, 12:27 PM)

      • #5
        TO should be taking notes!

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        Said the Quangle Wangle Quee

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        • #6
          He's a great role model for millions of kids everywhere.

          And also to those he didn't father.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Dr.Gonzo@Aug 29 2005, 12:05 PM
            He's a great role model for millions of kids everywhere.

            And also to those he didn't father.


            -RBB

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Dr.Gonzo@Aug 29 2005, 01:05 PM
              He's a great role model for millions of kids everywhere.

              And also to those he didn't father.


              well done.
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              • #9
                Isn't he still getting paid like a starter?
                Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by Dr.Gonzo@Aug 29 2005, 11:05 AM
                  He's a great role model for millions of kids everywhere.

                  And also to those he didn't father.

                  excellent, superbly done.
                  Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by lazydaze@Aug 29 2005, 01:46 PM
                    Isn't he still getting paid like a starter?
                    Why, yes he is.

                    And how long after Jackson's first fumble or missed block before Faulk is named the starter again.

                    With Mad Mike, I'll believe it when I see it.
                    His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
                    Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by moedrabowsky+Aug 29 2005, 12:48 PM-->
                      QUOTE(moedrabowsky @ Aug 29 2005, 12:48 PM)

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by lazydaze@Aug 29 2005, 01:53 PM
                      But this article failed to mention that pretty important aspect to the comparisons. It's a lot easier to be the content helpful back up at around 7 million year versus 750K.
                      No doubt.

                      And if he were asked to take a pay cut, how content would he really be?
                      His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
                      Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by moedrabowsky+Aug 29 2005, 02:48 PM-->
                        QUOTE(moedrabowsky @ Aug 29 2005, 02:48 PM)

                      • #15
                        Originally posted by BringBackZezel+Aug 29 2005, 01:59 PM-->
                        QUOTE(BringBackZezel @ Aug 29 2005, 01:59 PM)
                        Originally posted by [email protected] 29 2005, 02:48 PM
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