He doesn’t have the star power of Randy Moss.
He isn’t the cult hero like Wes Welker.
He doesn’t have the physical gifts like his cousin, Marshall.
He doesn’t look for accolades or praise. He just brings his lunch pail and does his job.
His name is Kevin Faulk.
The 34-year-old running back was chosen in the second round of ’99 draft out of LSU. For 10-plus seasons, Kevin Faulk has done everything that has been asked of him.
He runs. He blocks. He returns punts. He always gets the tough yard for the first down. After the retirement of Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk became Brady’s Old reliable.
Kevin Faulk is one of many over achievers to play for Belichick era Patriots. He is one few remaining ambassadors of the Patriot Way. Faulk is one of the last remaining players from the team’s first championship in 2001.
He knows what it takes to win and how to be a champion.
He stepped up in the 2010 season to provide the leadership that lacked on an immature, young team. Kevin did what he had to do for his team even though it was out of his character.
He always puts team first.
When Kevin Faulk got injured against the Jets, most fans must have had to take a second look at the number.
Was it Fred Taylor? Or Sammy Morris that got hurt? Nope.
It was #33 on the ground wincing in pain on the Meadowlands Turf. In a backfield resembling Samuel Jackson as Mr. Glass, Kevin Faulk was more Bruce Willis, he was Unbreakable.
Until the game versus the Jets.
Faulk was diagnosed with a torn ACL and could miss the whole season. His loss will be felt especially on third down. Faulk is like a bloodhound in his quest for the first down marker and he found it almost everytime.
His versatility is almost irreplaceable.
Now the depleted running back corps has to step up. The young tightends need to be Brady’s new security blankets. Wes Welker will have to do even more on his surgically repaired knee. Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman need to pick up the slack.
Five to six players have to elevate their game to make up for the loss of one.
His name is Old Reliable.
Joe Gill writes for Boston Sports Then And Now.