Motivated by Belichick call, Faulk returns to Pats

191543.jpg

Motivated by Belichick call, Faulk returns to Pats

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; It was either New England or nothing for Kevin Faulk in2011.

That was evident.

But what wasnt known, was if the veteran running back wouldbe able to fully recover from a torn ACL he suffered early last season.

The fact that the injury hit him in the first month of theseason, was perhaps a blessing in disguise for his return in 2011. Still, withthe lockout in place this offseason, Faulk had a tough time rehabbing the kneewithout his team doctors.

For me, that was probably one of the toughest things, tohave knee surgery and then having a lockout, and not being able to see mytrainers, converse with my trainers and try to do rehab on my own, said Faulkon Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Credit to the LSU training staff. They helped me out awhole lot. But at the same time, not being able to converse with my trainersover here, it was very hard.

Faulk is back now. The unrestricted free agent re-signedwith the Patriots on Saturday. It was a return that he knew hed try to makethe day he got hurt in 2010.

And he received even more motivation just before the lockoutbegan, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Faulk and told him he wanted himback on the team in 2011.

That was motivation enough for me to go out and rehab mybutt off, and get ready for the season, whenever it may be and whenever it maycome, said Faulk on Saturday. So that was pretty much enough for me.

Faulk said he started feeling really good about two monthsago. But because of the new league rules, he cant practice with the team untilAug. 4.

I know physically I feel good, said Faulk. But mentally,I want to get out there, and see how it is getting hit. Pushing and pullingagainst linebackers and stuff. And thats just the process of it.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

Wednesday's Pats-Bills practice report: Jimmy G., Brissett both 'limited'

FOXBORO -- The highly-anticipated first Patriots injury report of the week was released on Wednesday afternoon, and it was fairly predictable. 

Both injured quarterbacks were active but limited in their practice participation, the report indicated. That comes as little surprise as both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) were spotted throwing passes early in Wednesday's practice. Neither appeared to be experiencing any significant discomfort as they made their warm-up throws. 

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) were also limited. Gronkowski admitted that the team was taking it slow with him in his first game back on the field last week -- he played just 14 snaps in New England's win over Houston -- but he said on Wednesday that he hoped to go "freakin' crazy" on the field soon.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
TE Charles Clay (knee)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

Garoppolo: Not pressured by Patriots to return last Thursday

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo spoke Wednesday for the first time since getting his shoulder separated by the Dolphins’ Kiko Alonso. Standing by his locker, Garoppolo was predictably vague about the status of his arm, unless you consider, “Getting better day by day,” as being insightful. 

The only two responses offered that were worth a damn came when asked if he could have done anything different when he got squished by Alonso while retreating and buying time.  

“Just have to be smart I guess,” said Garoppolo. “I mean, it’s football and stuff’s gonna happen like that, but have to be smart in those situations.”

Asked if he regretted holding the ball as long as he did on a third-down play with the Patriots up 21-0, Garoppolo replied, “After it’s all said and done it’s easy to say that, but it’s one of those things, you’re in the heat of the game. But bottom line I have to be smarter than that.”

Agreed.  

Meanwhile, as he worked last week to get back for Thursday night’s game against Houston, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots were “putting pressure” on Garoppolo to be ready for the game. Working hard to get key players ready for upcoming games is standard operating procedure for a medical staff. Trying to force a player to perform is not. 

I asked Garoppolo if he felt unduly pressured. He replied, “No.”