With the news that Kevin Faulk has been lost for the season to an ACL tear (which could mean the end of his career), I’ve been thinking about how much Faulk has meant to the Patriots over his 12 seasons with the team. As serious Patriots fans know, it’s a lot. Here’s a piece I wrote about Kevin for Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in New England Patriots History. (It shows up in my chapter on Super Bowl XXXVIII.)
The Other Troy Brown: Kevin Faulk
If Troy Brown had been a running back, he would have been Kevin Faulk. Seriously. At times the similarity between the two players borders on uncanny. It starts with attitude: Faulk, like Brown, is the definition of a blue-collar athlete. He works hard and does whatever his team asks. He’s been doing it for 11 years, all with the Patriots, and if he’s ever complained that he doesn’t get enough recognition he hasn’t done it publicly.
But the fact is, Faulk doesn’t get enough recognition. He’s been a consistent contributor on offense, both running the ball and providing a reliable target for Tom Brady in short passing situations. His 418 catches are the most by a running back in Patriots’ history. He’s returned punts and kicks, sometimes with spectacular results. And like Brown, he’s been there to strip intercepted balls away from defensive backs. In 2007 he got one back from Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, allowing the Patriots come out ahead in their toughest match of the season.
In Super Bowl XXXVIII, Faulk had a key two-point conversion, taking a direct snap and rocketing through the one gap. It was Faulk’s only score that year (though he’d racked up 1,351 all-purpose yards) but it was critical. Had the two-point try failed, the Pats likely would have been driving to tie late rather than to win.
And how does Faulk feel about being compared with Brown? “Troy’s my idol,” he says. “When I came here, I tried to model myself after him.” Mission accomplished.