FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
was tough for Kevin Faulk to leave football. Any hopes he had of
staying, though, faded when the New England Patriots' running game made
The team's career leader in all-purpose yards
made it official on Tuesday after two injury-plagued seasons. He
formally announced his retirement after 13 memorable years in a
ceremony at the team's Hall of Fame attended by owner Robert Kraft,
coach Bill Belichick and several teammates.
''I never thought I'd be saying I'm retiring from football,'' Faulk
said, ''and I never thought I'd have three of these.''
when he took out the Super Bowl championship rings he won with the only
team he played for since the Patriots drafted him in 1999 in the second
round out of LSU.
He played only two games in 2010 before
suffering a season-ending knee injury. He began last season on the
physically unable to perform list then was activated and played seven
games. But he was inactive for the 21-17 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.
And this season, the Patriots' revived running game
has gained the third most yards in the NFL, led by Stevan Ridley's 490.
Faulk exceeded that total in just three of his seasons. Backups Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead also have been productive.
third-down back on offense, he made his mark on return teams for New
England. His 12,349 all-purpose yards, 5,041 return yards and 4,098
kick return yards are team records. He also rushed for 3,607 yards and
16 touchdowns and caught 431 passes for 3,701 yards and 15 touchdowns.
matter what he was asked to do, nobody did it better than Kevin,''
Belichick said. ''He always put the team first, he always worked hard.
Nobody contributed more to the team winning than Kevin.''
Faulk was, Belichick concluded, ''the ultimate team player.''
Faulk helped define the way an entire generation of Patriots fans have
come to view and appreciate our brand of football,'' he said in a
statement. ''He worked so hard to get better every year. He was always
one of the first to arrive in the building and among the last to leave.
work ethic, enthusiasm for the game and clutch performances, especially
on third down, earned him the respect of his coaches, teammates and
fans alike. He retires a Patriot whose career will always be celebrated
for helping deliver three Super Bowl championships to New England.''
Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch, linebacker Jerod Mayo and
cornerback Devin McCourty attended the ceremony.
New England (3-2) will meet Seattle (3-2) on Sunday.
The Patriots need more from their defensive backs in 2012. After finishing 31st overall in 2011,…