Fans of the New England Patriots voted running back Kevin Faulk into the team's Hall of Fame, ahead of defensive back Raymond Clayborn and linebacker Mike Vrabel. And now Faulk is returning the favor to the fans with a couple great stories about his time with head coach Bill Belichick.
Faulk, a graduate of Louisiana State who holds the school records for most career rushing yards and most career rushing touchdowns, spoke with NOLA.com about his time with the Patriots.
"You're right about [Bill Belichick being] weird," Faulk shared with a laugh in the round table discussion. "We all know as a player you want to try and figure your head coach out to make your stay there better. For about 3-4 years it was like, 'Who is this guy?'
"We're the Louisiana guys, when we walk in the halls we're going to tell each other good morning. 'Good morning, how're you doing?' Well, you walk in the hallway and say, 'Good morning, Coach.' Nothing being said, he walks right by.
"OK, so 2-3 years pass by," Faulk continued. "He's walking and I'm still saying good morning. 'Good morning, coach.'
"'Good morning, Kevin.' . . . Whoa, stop, stop, stop. 'Stop, coach.'
"'What's going on, Kevin?'
"'Coach, you realize we've been walking in this same hall for however many years and this is the first time you said good morning?'
"'Ah, my bad, Kevin.' And he walks away."
I love that it took a few years before Belichick ever took the time to spoke with Faulk. I'm sure Belichick wiped Faulk's name from his robotic memory after the running back's 6th fumble in 2000 and it probably wasn't until Faulk returned the second of his two kick return touchdowns in 2002 before the head coach remembered his name.
And Faulk knows that Belichick is too focused on his work to say "hello" in the hallways.
"When it comes to football, man, he's one of the greatest minds ever," Faulk said. "Attention to detail, he has you watching so much film, there is so much muscle memory that you have after you do so much situational work on the field, people would ask, 'How are y'all so prepared for the situation that comes in the game?' Well, we did that already. We did that in practice."
Faulk is hoping to take that mentality with him as he embarks on his coaching career. Faulk has been the offensive coordinator for his old high school football team for the past three seasons- and also serves as the head coach for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams- after Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft apparently tried to retain his services "in a coaching capacity" upon his retirement.
"I remember when I was leaving to move back home, I went to him to ask what he thought about me becoming a coach," Faulk said. "He told me, 'You've been a coach already over here, coaching up the younger guys, and you didn't even know it. You were preparing yourself for that as long as you're been here.'"
Perhaps Faulk will come back to New England some day (although Faulk claims "that lifestyle was not for me anymore."), but until then, thank you for your time and the memories, and please keep telling Belichick stories because they will never get old.