Marshall Faulk Exclusive: Hall of Fame RB Receives Hometown Honors
The cities of St. Louis and New Orleans have something in common other than their French roots and access to the mighty Mississippi River.
For starters, both claim to be the home of one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game: Marshall Faulk.
In St. Louis, Faulk was a keystone member of the historic "Greatest Show on Turf" offense and helped produce the first Super Bowl victory in Rams history.
As a member of the Rams, Faulk produced 11,030 yards from scrimmage, 85 touchdowns, four Pro Bowl appearances and won the Most Valuable Player award in 2000.
His remarkable career made him an obvious choice as a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2011.
But long before Faulk was shredding the turf of the Edward Jones Dome, he was the pride of George Washington Carver High School in New Orleans.
In high school, Faulk was a standout at four different positions including running back, quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback, while also excelling in track and field.
But Faulk's connections with the Big Easy didn't vanish the day he received his high school diploma. Even to this day, Faulk is still an icon for the NOLA community.
And while Faulk achieved Hall of Fame status thanks to his work in Indianapolis and St. Louis, the city of New Orleans will always view him as a Hometown Hall of Famer.
Allstate Awards 'Hometown Hall of Fame' Honor to Marshall Faulk
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Allstate Insurance Company in an effort to recognize the hometown roots of some of football's greatest players of all time.
In 2012 alone, the program has already presented plaques to 28 different Hall of Fame players during special ceremonies held in their hometowns (according to ProFootballHOF.com).
Also, in celebration of the Hall of Fame's 50th Anniversary, Allstate will have fans vote for the best all-time player at each position in order to determine the greatest hypothetical team in history. Fans will have until Oct. 19 to cast their votes at YourAllTimeTeam.com.
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Marshall Faulk will be granted the Hometown Hall of Fame honor in front of a New Orleans crowd at George Washington Carver High School.
Faulk was willing to speak with Bleacher Report and give his thoughts on the event.
"(I'm) Excited to see my high school and hometown," said Faulk. "It's a great feeling and I'm humbled to go through with it."
The actual plaque will be presented by Faulk's long-time agent, Rocky Arceneaux, while the student body, as well as friends and family of Faulk, will also be in attendance.
The plaque will eventually be on display in the high school, but the school is still being rebuilt after sustaining damage from Hurricane Katrina, so the plaque will be on display at a temporary location visible to the community in the meantime.
But like George Washington Carver High School, many other buildings and lives have yet to be restored since the devastating effects of Katrina. As a result, it makes you wonder if a local icon such as Faulk has been under added pressure to help out in recent years.
"I don't consider it pressure," said Faulk. "You either do it or you don't. Pressure is a whole different ball game. It's playing sports when you have to produce. In this case, I'm doing what's natural for me."
Immediately following Katrina, the Marshall Faulk Foundation sprung into action and hosted a number of fund-raising events to aid in the relief efforts.
And long after the city is fully restored, the plaque will help guarantee that Faulk remains an icon of the city, even decades after the final rebuilding efforts are complete.
Marshall on the St. Louis Rams
Of course, with Marshall Faulk on hand, it was only natural to get some input on the St. Louis Rams' current affairs.
His former team has been a walking disaster in recent years, but new head coach Jeff Fisher has sparked a resurgence and new hope, as the team is currently sitting with a a respectable 3-3 record.
So is the current flash of potential a positive sign, or is it too early for excitement?
"You never know, I wish I could predict football," Faulk said. "Football, in its current state, it's hard to predict who's going to win and who's going to lose. They could end up as a playoff team, or just a team that's below .500."
Faulk also pointed out that seven underdogs were able to come up with wins in Week 6, which is a testament to the general unpredictability of the NFL.
If anything is going to send the Rams down the wrong path, it's their dreadful offense that has averaged merely 14.0 points per game the last four weeks.
So is there any hope for this offense? Besides the obvious answers (Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson), is there anyone on the team capable of stepping up and leading the offense to success, possibly in the same fashion Faulk and Kurt Warner led the offense in the previous decade?
"What we (Greatest Show on Turf) did and how we played, compare and contrast that, that wouldn't even be fair to those guys," Faulk said.
"They have some young guys who are definitely play makers that need the reps. Look at (Lance) Kendricks, (Daryl) Richardson, Chris Givens. They have some guys, its just going to take a minute to get familiar with those guys before you see the benefits."
Lets hope the benefits come sooner rather than later.
More on Marshall
Outside of his regular appearances on the NFL Network and being honored by his hometown, Marshall Faulk remains a busy man.
The Marshall Faulk Foundation is presenting the 17th Annual Celebrity Extravaganza golf tournament on Nov. 5, and it will be held at the The Journey at Pechanga Resort and Casino in San Diego.
The guest list is still unconfirmed, but check for updates at the official Marshall Faulk Foundation website for details.
Also, besides mastering four positions for the George Washington Carver football team and winning Super Bowls with the Rams, Marshall was a three-time All-American for the San Diego State Aztecs.
As a result, Faulk's foundation hosted the 5th Annual Aztec For Life Homecoming Celebration, which celebrates San Diego State football's past and present during the school's homecoming week.
According to Faulk, the foundation was able to raise more than $300,000.
For more on Marshall Faulk, follow him on Twitter and be sure to tune in to the NFL Network for his segments.
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