Slater: Faulk epitomizes Patriots success

Slater: Faulk epitomizes Patriots success
October 8, 2012, 10:04 pm
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FOXBORO -- Monday afternoon the Patriots announced Kevin Faulk will retire from the NFL. The running back's career, dormant since New England made him inactive for Super Bowl XLVI, will come to a formal finish via press conference Tuesday morning.
The news is already reverberating through the locker room.
"What I'll remember about Kevin is his leadership," said special teams captain Matt Slater. "As a leader, he was second to none. He set an example by the work on the field, and by the way he took young guys under his wing in the locker room.
"More than anything, he epitomizes the kind of player this organization has built its success on. The kind of guy who's been unselfish over the course of his career, and really stepped up in big moments. He was a huge role player. He became a star as a role player, made plays for this team time after time in big clutch situations."
Faulk had 13 seasons of active duty with the Patriots. He retires as New England's all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349), return yards (5,041) and kick return yards (4,098).
"I think he's one of the best to ever do it, as far as third down backs are concerned," said Slater. "He could run it, he could catch it -- he could do it all. When I think third-down back, I think Kevin Faulk.
"He was very unselfish. I think he had the talent to be a featured back, but he embraced his role. He really worked at it. He wanted to do what he could to help contribute to this team, and he did just that. Not to mention the great skill set he had as far as catching the ball out of the backfield, and be able to run draws, and run inside and outside. He was a great back."
But it's not just what Faulk did on game days that endears him to the Patriots; he was a tremendous leader. Slater said the man's faith and work ethic braced all his efforts.
Not unlike the way Faulk braced his teammates.
"I remember for me, just personally, dealing with some things my rookie year, on the field things not necessarily going my way, and Kevin just coming alongside and encouraging me," Slater remembered. "He picked me up, and being a true leader and a teammate and a friend at a time that I needed one. For me personally, he's done a lot to encourage me and contribute to my development as a professional. So I'm very thankful for that, I'm thankful I got to play with Kevin Faulk."