Washington to wear Faulk's No. 33

Washington to wear Faulk's No. 33
April 24, 2013, 4:15 pm
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NORTH ATTLEBORO, MA -- Kevin Faulk's official retirement from the Patriots is barely more than six months old, but his mantle is already being picked back up. 

Veteran running back Leon Washington, signed by New England in March, will wear No. 33. 

Washington dropped the news unexpectedly on Wednesday at North Attleboro Middle School. He was speaking at the school's celebration of student fundraising efforts for their American Heart Association's "Hoops for Heart" program.  

After congratulating the assembled kids, he spoke briefly with media. 

"Yeah, No. 33," he smiled. "Obviously I'm grateful for Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick giving me an opportunity to wear that number. I understand the history behind that number. Me and Kevin Faulk, we spoke on the phone a few times, so when it comes down to it, just coming down and playing football, not focusing on the number on my back. Just trying to go out there and make plays and hopefully that takes care of it for itself."

Washington may be a veteran, but Faulk had already spent seven seasons in the NFL before the newest Patriots running back was even drafted. 

"I did look up to him. He's a guy that, not only on the football field, he did things so well in the locker room with the guys. You hear about the stories about how he was such a great teammate in the locker room, great player on the field and off the field. That's some of the things that I like about Kevin a lot. Obviously, what he did on the football field speaks volume. I just want to represent it the best way I can."

Part of that means being his own man. Though Washington is well-versed in most Faulk lore, he has plenty of experience that's valuable on its own. If he can set a positive standard, great. If not? He'll still do what he can.

"Definitely not forced, when it comes down to leadership. I'm a believer that you lead by example, and that's what I'm trying to so far, since I got here. Just come in, work hard, be diligent about my work, be a smart player. Just come in and help the team out the best way I can, so that's what I look forward more than anything. Just providing that leadership, showing guys and leading by example."