I have made some derogatory comments in the past about how the Patriots have signed a few too many aging running backs to their roster.
I will, however, go on record as saying that I was relieved when the news broke last week that New England came to terms on a new deal with 33-year-old Kevin Faulk.
The Pats are glad to have his 636 total yards and three touchdowns back from last season. His rushing averages have also been eye-popping (for an aging back).
The signing goes far beyond his stats, though; the crusty vet has proven abundantly loyal to the "Patriots way", a theme many critics say the Pats have gotten away from over the past few years.
In fact, it looks like Faulk wants to do things the Patriots way until he rides off into the sunset.
During a conference call with Patriots.com, Faulk talked about his admiration for Troy Brown, and how it's been a goal of his to be loyal to his organization.
"[Y]ou never hear about a guy in this day and age that's been staying for a long time [with one organization]," Faulk said. "And it's just a fact of being in that organization and trying to uphold and be consistent."
The Pats could use some consistency in terms of leadership, and that's exactly what Faulk brings. In a locker room that has been stripped of one leader after another over the past few seasons, Faulk's departure would be detrimental.
He isn't ordinarily a vocal leader, but he did show quite a bit of tenacity during the pounding his Patriots suffered by Baltimore in the Wild Card.
He's humble, however, and admitted that he alone can't answer the call for all the departures.
"You need a vocal [leader] and you need [a guy] that leads by example. You need a few of them as a matter of fact," Faulk said.
He acknowledges that there are some guys on the roster who are able leaders, but others who have been thrust into the role before they're ready.
For all that leadership and veteran knowledge Faulk brings, the Patriots couldn't afford to lose him.
If nothing else, Tom Brady's sure glad not to lose his third-down security blanket.