Faulk knows clock is ticking

Posted: Friday, July 30, 2004

MACOMB, Ill. Marshall Faulk has had his share of physical problems over the years.

He comes into the St. Louis Rams' camp healthy this year. Then again, it's early.

Entering his 12th NFL season, the 31-year-old running back doesn't know how long his body, and ultimately, his career will last.

''This is probably the first year I've thought about it like 'Man, if the body isn't acting right, what do I do? Do I fight through it or do I not play?'' Faulk said Thursday. ''That's something I'm going to have to evaluate after the season.''

After two days of the Rams' workouts, Faulk said he's feeling fine and after watching himself on tape said he looked ''pretty good to myself.''

The Rams are taking steps to conserve Faulk, limiting his practice and shutting him down for the morning practice during two-a-day workouts. He likely won't play much in the preseason, either.

Last year, a bad knee and a broken hand kept Faulk out of five games and limited him to 818 yards rushing and 45 receptions for 290 yards. He had knee surgery in the offseason.

''If he says his knee is a little bit sore and we need to take some time, then that's what we do,'' coach Mike Martz said. ''He knows exactly what he needs to do to get ready.''

Faulk was the NFL MVP in 2000 and from 1998-2001 became the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards rushing and receiving for four consecutive seasons. His contract with the Rams is through 2008.

St. Louis also is preparing for the end of his prolific career, drafting Oregon State running back Steven Jackson in the first round.

''Having guys behind me that are youthful and that I can pass some information along to and hopefully one day, whether it's here or on another team, they can step in and be the guy, they can look back on some of the things I told them about the game,'' Faulk said.

But Faulk said he doesn't plan to go willingly.

''I love football. It's in me. I was given a gift to play this game, not just the physical gift but a mental gift to understand it,'' he said. ''It's not all that I have but it's something I have that I love doing and I have a passion for.''



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