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Kevin Faulk: ‘I am planning on coming back’

04.12.12 at 3:49 pm ET
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Kevin Faulk hopes to return in 2012. (AP)

PROVIDENCE — Patriots running back Kevin Faulk took part in a charity event at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence Thursday afternoon. Joined by fellow Patriots Dane Fletcher and Matthew Slater, Faulk visited multiple patients in the children’s hospital facility, taking pictures and giving away signed Patriots memorabilia before stopping to talk to the media gathered at the event. Here are some highlights from his Q&A with reporters:

Have you made a decision on what’s going to happen for this year? “I kinda knew this question was coming, so I kinda had an answer ready. First off, I have some bad news, that the softball game is not going to be this year. Some complications happened, so we’re not going to have the softball game. But I got some good news: I am training to come back and play. But it’s not up to me. It’s up to the team and everything. But I am planning on coming back, so we’ll see what happens.”

Can you tell us about coming back to play and what went into that decision and why another season for you? “Everyone says, ‘You don’t have anything to prove.’ Which, I don’t. I don’t play the game of football to prove anything to anyone. I play the game of football because I love it, I’m passionate about the game of football. It’s what I’ve been doing. It’s what I love to do. It took me a while to make a decision, but I felt like I needed this time. I’ve been playing professional football for a very long time. I’ve been blessed, in my eyes, to play for one of the best organizations in the NFL. And to have the opportunity to be able to play again? I wanted to give myself that time to think about it, and I thought about it, and I knew where my heart is and it’s always been here.”

What has been different about this offseason than in the past? “Well, I’m human – (there’s) stress. Not playing as much as I did before last year, not dressing for the Super Bowl, that kinda weighed into my [thinking], like ‘Is it time for you to let it go?’ But in my mind, I still knew that I could play the game of football. Coming back for me last year, I don’t think it was me physically playing the game, it was moreso mentally. When I say mentally … when you’ve been playing the game as long I as have at the same speed for the New England Patriots, everything has to be perfect. You have to be perfect. Last year, I didn’t feel that way at all until towards the end of the season, but at that point, it was too late, because our team was already developed. So in order to sit back and watch the guys perform and play each an every week, that was a hard thing for me to swallow. But to have the time to think what I wanted to do forward? All I did was pray to God and let him help me make decisions to see what was best for me and my family.”

Do you feel with the added season that your knee will be even better this year? “All I heard from the time I heard it to about now, ‘It’s going to take you a year and a half. It’s going to take you a year and a half.’ But, as the competitor that I am, I want to defeat all odds. I want to come back. I want to be who I was before, but that wasn’t it. So when that time came, it was like ‘OK, you’re going to be in your 14th year in the league, what do you want to do? A year-and-a-half, they say.’ But, I felt good. So I just made the decision, ‘Hey, I’m going to do my best and do what I’ve always done: Work hard to get back to work.’

Does it feel any different from a year ago at this time? “Oh, it’s totally different than a year ago at this time. I feel like it’s back to where it was. I felt like it was back to where it was, at some point in the season last year. But like I said, mentally, it wasn’t there. Every aspect of the game wasn’t there for me last year over the course of the season.”

With this last year, have you taken on a mentor’s role and prepared to give back to the younger guys like Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley? “That comes with the territory. Just being on the team, being with the guys, knowing who you are, the guys know who you are, that just comes with it because they always come and they’ll ask because I’m the older guy and they know that I’ve seen a lot and know a lot. It’s the territory.”

What does your family think? What are your kids saying to you? “Football’s in our family. It’s been that way. I figured that out when my wife started talking football and that was like, ‘Wow, OK, it’s in our family.’ But they’re with me, they’re behind me, they’re going to give me support through whatever.”

Will you approach the Patriots about a new deal? Obviously, you don’t have a contract. How is this going to work going forward? “Like I said, I just pray to God and let him take care of it, and today you’re all going to blast it out, so they’re going to hear it. So I’m just hoping. I’m just praying. A phone call will come, but it’s not up to me to contact them.”

If that phone call doesn’t come – I know you said you wanted to be a Patriot forever – will you pursue another team eventually? “It’s still the same. I’m not going anywhere. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come. I’m content with it. That’s another of the decision that I had to make that, ‘If that phone call doesn’t come from the New England Patriots, are you ready for that?’ Yes, I am. I am.”

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