Former New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk has finalized his legacy with his longtime NFL squad.
News broke on Wednesday that fans had voted Faulk into the Patriots Hall of Fame next to ex-teammates Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law.
Faulk was given the nod over linebacker Mike Vrabel, who had played in Foxborough from 2001-2008, and cornerback Raymond Claiborne, a 12-year veteran of the Patriots.
“I credit New England to allowing me to grow up as a young man, not just through football but just life in general,” Faulk said, via a conference call.
The 5-foot-8 Faulk was lifting weights, symbolic of his work ethic throughout his 13-year career, when owner Robert Kraft called to congratulate him.
“Kevin Faulk helped deliver three Super Bowl championships and redefined the way an entire generation of Patriots fans celebrated football in New England,” Kraft said in a statement.
“Despite entering the NFL as the second-leading rusher in SEC history, he arrived in New England without ego or pretense. He was a selfless and tireless contributor to the team.”
Known for his reliability in high-pressure situations, Faulk was infamous for serving as a third-down security blanket for quarterback Tom Brady.
Effective as a runner and receiver, his strong-willed attitude led to success in the professional game.
“Just being ready, being patient, understanding that the game wasn’t just about you,” he said.
Faulk recalled the instance, just before he inked a six-year extension with the Patriots in March 2004, when he almost signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
That fall, his mother, Vivian, died of leukemia. Faulk said this occurrence was a career-defining moment.
“That was singlehandedly a hard situation. But I can honestly say that that situation made me a better person, made me a better father, a better husband, a better teammate.”
As far as his most joyous time, Faulk pointed to Super Bowl XXXVI, a 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams–a representation of Hollywood endings in Louisiana.
“That’s the moment right there that you tend to think about like, ‘Wow, I’ve got a high school state championship there and now I won the pro football championship in that same stadium.”
Faulk is the Patriots’ all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349) and kickoff return yards (4,098). He is also the Patriots’ all-time leading return specialist, totaling 5,041 combined return yards (4,098 kick return yards and 943 punt return yards).
He ranks fifth in Patriots history in rushing yards (3,607), fifth in receptions (431), 12th in receiving yards (3,701) and eighth in punt return yards (943). He is the Patriots’ all-time leader in receptions by a running back and is one of just 30 running backs in NFL history to reach the 400-reception plateau.
Faulk’s induction ceremony will take place on Monday, Aug. 1. He will also be honored during the Patriots’ home-opener against the Dolphins on Sept. 18.