Faulk happy to be back

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Faulk happy to be back

PITTSBURGH -- Only one thing matters to the Patriots after a game.

The score.

But Sunday at Heinz Field, after being batted around by a supposed paper tiger Steelers team, there was something else. There was a positive thread weaved through New England's 25-17 loss, Bill Belichick's grumbled murmuring, and a largely quiet locker room.

Kevin Faulk.

The Patriots running back returned to action for the first time since September 2010. A torn ACL sidelined Faulk for 13 months and it wasn't a big roster blow just because he's the Patriots' all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,247), but because of his range. Faulk was also used for returns on special teams and as a check down receiver on third down. His presence as a locker room leader made him invaluable and never wavered throughout the rehabilitation process. Hell, there's almost a mythological aspect to the man because his 13-season tenure dates P.B: Pre-Belichick.

So Faulk's reemergence Sunday was noted with anticipation. Yet he only gave himself a minute to reflect.

"I tell you, it was only one moment: walking in for warm-ups, being able to go on the field and have a uniform on. That was it," he said. "Other than that, it was time to play the game. The game was the most important thing."

For his teammates, having Faulk back is an important part of the plan. Expectations of easing the 35-year old back into game play were quickly blown up -- not only did he start, but his 11 touches (six rushes, five receptions) led all Patriots.

Finally, Tom Brady was reunited with one of the most reliable pass-catching backs of his career, and the chemistry remained. The quarterback was thrilled.

"He's such a spark plug for our offense," Brady said. "He does so many things well. For a guy who didn't play football in a year, it certainly didn't look like it. He played well, played hard, made some big plays running the ball, catching the ball. I'm sure he's going to be sore tomorrow; he took some big hits. But it's great to have him back."

Were they surprised at how fresh he looked? Were eyebrows raised on the bench after his fantastic blitz pickup on a Brady touchdown pass? Was there any doubt Faulk could keep up? Deion Branch shook off the notion firmly.

"No, no, no," he said. "He's been doing it during the weeks in his rehab, looking real good.

"He's a leader, a great guy to have on the team. He's one of the guys I leaned on when I first came in to the league. It was just good for him to be back on the football field. I went through the same injury that he had, the same bounce back. So I know the determination, the passion that he has for the game, and the will that he has to be back on the field with the guys."

Still, there's a fundamental change. Now that he's back, Faulk's focus is on moving forward instead of playing catch-up. He is bound by a small knee brace but shrugged it off. He took some hard hits and shrugged those off too. He's thankful for every bump and bruise because the pain he deals with now is the same heartbreak as the other 52.

"I'm happy for playing, but at the same time, we lost the game. The happiness is going away," Faulk said.

"When you do what you love to do, you think about it and always be aware of it. But at the same time, when you lose a game you're kind of depressed."

Because, once again, the game is the most important thing.

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Tom Brady's daughter Vivian is a natural on skis.

The New England Patriots quarterback and apparently proud father posted a comical video of his 4-year-old daughter tearing it up on the ski hill. Vivian took on the bottom section of the run while adhering to the all-important instructions from the Super Cool Ski Instructor from the Comedy Central show, "South Park."

Brady added the audio from the "South Park" ski instructor to the video of his daughter skiing, and included a joke about "french frying" and "pizzaing" at the correct moments. 

"That’s my girl! Pizzaing when she's supposed to pizza, French frying when she's supposed to French fry... NOT having a bad time!!" Brady joked on Instagram.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

MORE PATRIOTS

But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents