Remembering Kevin Faulk

790336.jpg

Remembering Kevin Faulk

When I think back on Kevin Faulk's career, there's one play that always stands out.

And you can probably guess which one I'm talking about.

It's the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII, 2:51 on the clock, and Tom Brady just hit Mike Vrabel for a one-yard touchdown to give the Pats a 28-22 lead.

At this point, they need a two-point conversion. They REALLY need a two-point conversion. As evidenced by the fact that their defense had given up touchdowns on consecutive possessions and showed no signs of being able to slow down the Panthers attack.

Brady lines up in the shotgun, with Faulk with him in the backfield. Hut. Hut. HIKE. No. 33 steps in front of the snap, grabs the ball and shoots himself into the end zone. Conversion good. 29-22, Pats.

Of course, the Panthers responded with an easy touchdown 80 yards, on seven plays to tie the score with 1:08 left. And of course, thanks to John Kasay, Brady, Troy Brown, Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri, the Pats ultimately won the game anyway. But if not for Faulk's conversion, who knows what would have happened. The dynamics would have changed and it wouldn't have been in the Pats favor.

And here's my favorite part about that play: It was the only time all year that Kevin Faulk found the end zone. This despite a season where he ran for a career high 638 yards on a career-high 178 carries, and caught 48 balls for another 440 yards. He had zero points. That is, until it was all on the line; when a play had to be made.

That was Kevin Faulk. And while this one two-point conversion barely scrapes the surface of everything he did for the Patriots on and off the field for 13 years, it's a fitting microcosm of how much he means to New England and how he'll be remembered through the annals of Patriots history.

To be honest, it's hard to get too choked up about Faulk walking away. We've known that it was coming for a while, and no one can disagree that the time is right. At some point, every one has to say goodbye. But Faulk does it with his head held high, on a fast track to the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.