Three days after tearing the ACL in his right knee, Kevin Faulk was the first person in attendance for the most important meeting of the week. Faulk knows he won't play Sunday against the Bills, and he even alluded to the fact that he may never play again.
Yet, the always-professional, highly-respected Faulk continued to go about his business in a team-first manner, not taking the chance to sleep in and put his toes up.
"Before the season, I was elected team captain," Faulk said. "I was elected that for a reason, so no matter what happens, I'll be here."
Faulk confirmed his torn ACL and said he's done for the season. He believed he would undergo surgery in a month after the swelling goes down and he regains his range of motion. Until then — and likely sometime after his surgery — Faulk will stick around Gillette Stadium.
The 34-year-old and 12-year veteran signed a one-year contract last offseason, and he wouldn’t commit to his long-term future. He said he would have surgery, "rehab [his] butt off," and see what happens. It's the first time he has ever suffered a season-ending injury, so he doesn’t know how he'll bounce back.
"[I'll] let my body tell me," said Faulk, who noted his most serious injuries prior to this were a broken ankle and a broken heel. "I've been playing a long time. I've been fortunate enough to play football for over 20 years. I've been blessed, and that’s the good thing."
Some of Faulk's former teammates, like Tedy Bruschi and David Patten, have prided themselves on being able to walk away from the game on their own terms and not due to injury.
When asked if that would also serve as motivation to return next season, Faulk responded, "I'm not sure yet. You never know what can interfere with that, but that’s the way it goes. You have to take that chance and just move forward and prepare like I've been preparing. That's just rehabbing, giving my all to rehabbing, make sure my knee gets back 100 percent."
Faulk knew immediately upon getting tackled by Jets defensive back Drew Coleman that he suffered serious damage to his knee. After laying on the ground for a few minutes, Faulk hobbled toward the Patriots' sideline and chucked his mouth guard in frustration.
But in the moments following the hit, and in the days since the game, Faulk has been humbled by the outpouring of support he has received from teammates, coaches and opponents, all past and present. And it even started when a throng of Jets, including Coleman, paid their respects to one of the game's all-time great third-down backs.
"That’s what you play the game for," Faulk said. "You play the game to win, but at the same time, you play for respect. Respect for you, your teammates, as well as the team you play against. That’s what you play for."
Faulk was in a self-reflective mood Wednesday and took the time to answer about 45 minutes worth of questions. It was an interesting session, and a respectable one, too.
And as Faulk left the locker room to head off to the rest of his day's activities with his teammates, there were more questions that needed resolution. It will take time for those answers to surface, and right now, Faulk seems content with that.
"I'm not sad anymore," Faulk said. "When it first happened, I was sad, cried a whole lot. But hey, it's life. You've got to deal with it. You get knocked off the road sometimes. It's how you get back on [that makes you] who you are as a person."
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