The New England Patriots currently have three running backs on the roster for 2012 but one more signing would be beneficial. That signing is long time Patriots running back Kevin Faulk. Faulk told the media this week that he is “praying” and “hoping” for a return but bringing back the veteran would benefit both sides. If he doesn’t return to New England this year, he will likely retire from the game.
Kevin Faulk was a second round draft pick by the Patriots in 1999. He proved his importance to the team as a kick returner and running back becoming an important part of three Super Bowl championship teams in New England. Faulk’s play has dwindled in recent years with the veteran getting minimal playing time in 2010 and 2011 but the 36-year old still has use.
If there’s one thing the Patriots lack on offense, its experience in the backfield. The three running backs that look to be on the roster come September are a pair of 2011 draft picks in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen and the newly acquired Joseph Addai. While Addai has experience having played six years for the Indianapolis Colts, this will be his first year with the Patriots. It takes someone who has experience in the organization to help them better understand the Patriots’ way.
Ridley and Vereen are the future of the New England Patriots and a mentor for the two young players would be beneficial. That’s where Faulk could be most used. Faulk has had successful seasons, he’s struggled at times, and he’s gone through injuries that have kept him out. All of these situations will occur with the two young backs and having someone to help them understand how to get through those would prepare them in the future.
At 36-years old Kevin Faulk is not the player he once was and won’t be a key component physically in the running game. However, his experience and leadership with the two young running backs of the future would hold great importance.