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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Sports
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Runs in the family: Kevin Faulk emulates cousin

By Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff, 9/23/2000

OXBOROUGH - During his years at Louisiana State University, Patriots running back Kevin Faulk often wondered if he was related to Marshall Faulk. After all, he grew up in Lafayette, La., just a two-hour drive from Marshall Faulk's hometown of New Orleans.

''We first met about three years ago back home in Louisiana and at that time we told each other we were going to find out whether we were related or not,'' said Kevin Faulk.

About a year ago, after tracing their lineage, they discovered they were cousins.

''My dad was Marshall's dad's cousin,'' said Faulk. ''That makes us cousins.''

Marshall Faulk, an All-American at San Diego State who rushed for 1,282 yards and 1,978 yards his first two seasons in the NFL with the Colts, now runs and catches the ball for the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. If there's one player the Patriots' Faulk would love to emulate it's the Rams' Faulk.

''He can just do so many things,'' said Kevin Faulk. ''He runs the ball as good as anyone in the league. And all of those catches! He's a great player. He does all of the things that I like to do and I hope I have a chance to do.''

Marshall Faulk (5 feet 10 inches, 218 pounds) rushed for 1,381 yards on 253 carries for a 5.5-yard average last season. He also caught 87 passes for 1,048 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. The Rams gave up a second- and fifth-round draft pick to acquire Faulk from Colts. Now in his seventh year, he has rushed for more than 1,200 yards three times and more than 1,000 yards five times.

If there's a football gene, Kevin Faulk certainly hopes he shares one with Marshall.

''I'd like to be as involved in this offense as Marshall is in theirs,'' said Faulk, now in his second year with the Patriots. ''I'm just trying to do the best I can, contributing on special teams, running back kicks, punts, running it, catching it. I'll do it all. I'm not tired. I can do all of those things and carry the ball more on a regular basis. I feel great. I'm in great shape.''

Kevin Faulk has had two consecutive impressive games, rushing for 82 yards against the Jets Sept. 11 and 80 last week against the Vikings. He's averaging 4.2 yards a carry, enabling the Patriots to carry a 4.0-yard average into tomorrow's game with the Dolphins. The Patriots have not finished a season with 4-yard average since 1985.

As defenses focus on him more and as the season's wear and tear takes its toll, can Faulk keep running the ball effectively?

''I guess that's what everybody wants to know,'' said Faulk. ''I have to have a chance to do it. I did it in college. I've done it all my life. It's not like I haven't carried the ball a lot in my career.''

Kevin Faulk ranks fifth all time in NCAA history in all-purpose yards with 6,833. He had 53 touchdowns and trails only Herschel Walker in Southeastern Conference history in rushing yards (4,557) and rushing touchdowns (46).

At 5-8, 200 pounds, Kevin Faulk is shorter and not as quick as his cousin, but he's just as strong and elusive. One of his best moments as a rookie was a 43-yard run against the Dolphins Nov. 21 (he had 182 all-purpose yards in the game).

The Patriots have called Faulk's number a lot more this season (44 carries). He has had to pick up the slack because rookie J.R. Redmond was late getting up to the speed and veteran Raymont Harris was released. He is now the primary rusher, no longer just a third-down back. Two weeks ago he had 21 carries and got through it fine.

Faulk sees every week as another chance to prove himself. He understands the Patriots will need a good running game against the Dolphins. He wants to run the ball when the Patriots need it most so that there'll be no doubts that he's an every-down back. Just like Marshall.

Notes

Defensive end Willie McGinest practiced Thursday and yesterday. His status for tomorrow will likely be decided at game time. Coach Bill Belichick said McGinest's injury isn't in his hamstring but higher on the leg ... The coach said safety and special teams player Larry Whigham (leg) will not play against the Dolphins. It appears linebacker Olrick Johnson will be used on special teams ... Look for Tebucky Jones to get a start at free safety and play a more prominent role ... The Patriots put four players on the inactive list for tomorrow's game: wide receiver Dane Looker, defensive end Reggie Grimes, linebacker Matt Chatham, and Whigham. The Dolphins will be without wide receiver Tony Martin (foot) and defensive lineman Daryl Gardener (back).

This story ran on page G1 of the Boston Globe on 9/23/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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