The New England Patriots made the inevitable decision to place veteran running back Kevin Faulk on injured reserve Wednesday with a knee injury. Faulk, tore his ACL against the New York Jets on Sunday, The 12 year veteran will miss the remainder of the season.
Faulk was in the facility on Wednesday, despite knowing that the injury would curtail his season.
"I'll do what my body tells me," Faulk old reporters Wednesday. "I've been fortunate enough to play football for over 20 years without an ACL injury. Like a lot of people tell me, I've been blessed. I'm not upset about it, but, let's say I'm upset for my teammates because we put so much into the offseason and training camp to be a good football team."
Faulk, has been the team's primary back on third down situations, or in obvious passing downs. His ability to block, take a handoff for a draw play, or to go out as a receiver gives the Patriots a dimension on offense not easily accounted for by the defense. Quarterback Tom Brady knows what Faulk brings to the team and will miss the security of the longest tenured Patriot on the roster.
"Very few guys over the years have played as well and consistently at such a high level as Kevin<" Brady said. "He's been one part of this offense that's been so dependable for us, and reliable. There's nobody like him."
Faulk's versatility and longevity in his unique role can be measured by his statistics. He's is the Patriots' all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,247) and kick return yards (4,098) . He holds the team's combined total (5,030) as well.
As a role player, Faulk does not have the starts of a typical NFL running back, thereby reducing the amount of wear and tear the 34 year old body has been subjected to. The ACL injury is the first time Faulk's season has been ended by an injury. The longest absence due to injury was 2005 for Faulk, who missed eight games (nine weeks) that season.
Patriots head coach counts Faulk as one of the special players on the team.
"He's a really special guy, [who] did a lot of things for us on and off the field, Belichick said. "We can go on and on about that; it's a long list, but [he's] a very dependable guy, professional, great teammate, great team player."
Belichick was appreciative of having Faulk on the roster when the Hall of Fame worthy coach arrived.
"I think I'm pretty lucky that he was here when I got here, so I'll take that one," Belichick admitted. "Kevin is a good football player. He's smart. He's tough. He's got good skills, good running skills, good catching skills. He's a good decision maker. Most of all, I think he's very coachable and really cares about the game, his teammates and his team. What's there not to like about Kevin Faulk?"
Filling in for Faulk will be a multitude of players, including veteran running back Sammy Morris. Morris didn't see himself taking over for Faulk as much as performing one piece of the role Faulk once performed.
"I'm not Kevin Faulk, per se, but in that sense no one is," Morris said. "We've all got to elevate our own games and be a part of the team winning."
Is this the end for Faulk?
Maybe, maybe not says the running back.
"I got that question from my son ‘ is that it for me'?" Faulk responded "And I told my son the same thing I'm tell all of you. I'm going to do my best to rehab and see what happens from there."
Brady, who suffered his own ACL tear two seasons ago, believes in Faulk's return.
"Kevin will come back from it. He's come back from everything in his life." Brady stated. "Kevin's a fighter. He's a warrior. It's just about hard work, that's all it is. Kev will do that."
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