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Muscle Sport Magazine

Ram Tough:Marshall Faulk Made Hall of Fame on First Ballot

When one works for the league, you would figure that person gets the inside word on breaking news. Perhaps, but one employee of the National Football League chose to find out what was perhaps the most important message of his life just like everyone else – by watching it on television.

 

“I wanted a natural reaction,” said Marshall Faulk, the former running back and current NFL Network analyst who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility back in 2011.

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“I was in Dallas working (covering Super Bowl XLV) and was at the hotel amongst many friends,” added Faulk. “It was a great feeling. You instantly start to reflect on how you got here.”

 

The road Faulk traveled was a different one, indeed. He was drafted second overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and joined a team that was starting to gel. “I was surrounded by good veterans,” he recalled. “The guys around me like (Jim) Harbaugh, (Kirk) Lowdermilk, (Tony) Siragusa…and people like Quentin Coryatt and Steve Emtman, who told me the expectations of being a high draft pick.”

The Colts improved from 4-12 to 8-8 with Faulk on board and the rookie ran for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns and also corralled 52 passes out of the backfield for 522 yards. The latter was something that Faulk took great pride in throughout his illustrious career. “I wanted to take it to another level,” he said on a past episode of MuscleSport Radio, “to be a complete back not only running the football, but catching and blocking, as well.”

 

The following year, the 9-7 Cinderella Colts made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game and nearly upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Faulk became one of the league’s most dependable backs and routinely racked up 2,000 combined yards. But the business side of sports resulted in him being traded to the St. Louis Rams in 1999.

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“I was disappointed,” Faulk said. “I wanted to go to a team that was ready to contend.”

 

His feelings were quickly changed as the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ shocked the world and rode the wave all the way to the championship. “We were ready to win,” Faulk stated. “We all shared the same vision. (Head coach) Dick Vermeil and (offensive coordinator) Mike Martz were accepting input from players. Coaches just don’t do that.”

 

Quarterback Kurt Warner literally came out of nowhere to lead the Rams (13-3) to a victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, and Faulk was the catalyst of the offense and made it go. In 2000, Faulk won the NFL MVP Award and continued to be considered the top running back in the league for years until injuries began to slow him down by 2005. He had to sit out the following season before announcing his retirement in 2007.

 

Faulk finished with 12,279 yards on 2,836 carries (4.3 average) and 100 touchdowns, and added 767 receptions for 6,875 yards (9.0 average) and 36 more scores in 13 seasons.

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