New England Patriots: Kevin Faulk Impressing in Offseason

Drew BonifantAnalyst IIJune 5, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Brandon Tate #19 of the New England Patriots gains yardage as teammate Kevin Faulk #33 prepares to block during the NFL season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

There's no way to know what the future—and it could be a short one—holds for Kevin Faulk.

He's 35 years old. His ACL was rebuilt less than a year ago. He might be part of the New England Patriots' plans. He might not. He might have some football left in him. He might not.

Don't tell that to Faulk. The player who's become a fan favorite for showing up, year after year, is doing just that.

Showing up. And that's a feat in itself.

When the Tom Brady-organized Patriots workouts got underway this weekend, the normal faces showed up. Wes Welker was there. Jerod Mayo was there. Vince Wilfork was there.

And Kevin Faulk was there.

Normally, that's not surprising. Faulk was a team captain at the start of this season for a reason. He's been the consummate team player, accepting every role that's been given to him and doing all he could to excel within it. The Kevin Faulk of 1999-2010 would be at every one of these workouts, the first one in, and the last one out.

The Kevin Faulk of 2011 is an aging player coming off of injury, an ACL tear, no less. He's a free agent in waiting. He could have heard of these workouts and decided it wasn't his place to be there.

But there he was, on the field, working with the players, according to Robbie Donoghue of He was taking handoffs. He was running routes. Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston wrote that he had a notable play on the third day, taking a pitch and flinging the ball to Tom Brady on a pass pattern. Impressive.

"Everybody's trying to get back into football right now," he said, according to Reiss. "It went well. When you get a large group of guys into a situation in the area they're not accustomed to—and they actually come out—it speaks volumes of the commitment of the team."

It speaks volumes about Faulk, especially. If this doesn't move you as a Patriots fan, check your pulse.

He didn't need to be there. He's not on the roster. The Patriots drafted two running backs in April. The writing is on the wall: the end of the Kevin Faulk era is near, if not here already.

But when his quarterback came calling, Faulk answered. He was there, ready to play, ready to work.

"I'm a free agent," he said, according to Reiss, "but I'm a Patriot for life."

That's never been a question.