FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk didn’t want to go out like Nomar Garciaparra.
Watching the former Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop retire on Wednesday helped convince Faulk that he wanted to spend his entire career with the Patriots. So Faulk re-signed with the Patriots, the team that made him a second-round draft choice in 1999 and the only team he’s ever played for. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I might have left and gone and it might have been successful, but it wouldn’t have been the same if I would have been here doing it,” he said Thursday in a conference call with reporters, a day after Garciaparra made his awkward, one-day return to the Red Sox for the purpose of announcing his retirement.
“What happened with Nomar Garciaparra — it’s great he came back and retired a Red Sox,” Faulk said. “But at the same time if he would have done it here it would have even been better.”
Faulk, who was an unrestricted free agent, is the longest-tenured member of the Patriots. Along with Tom Brady, Matt Light and Stephen Neal, Faulk was a member of all three Patriots Super Bowl-winning teams.
“You see a lot of guys that come and go in the NFL, that have been with one team for a certain amount of years and they’ve left and go make their mark somewhere else,” he said. “But you never hear about a guy in this day and age that’s been staying for a long time. And it’s just a fact of being in that organization and trying to uphold and be consistent.”
Faulk, 33, said he never considered retiring.
And he wasn’t really considering going to another team, either.
“I was always 85 percent sure that I was going to wind up back in New England,” he said. “As a father, a husband I had to think about all of that besides just football — what I was going to do, what the family was going to have to do if I was going to have to leave or not. That was a weighing factor on me, as well.”
Faulk ran for 335 yards and caught 37 passes for 301 yards and scored three touchdowns last season. He has 3,505 yards rushing and 418 receptions for 3,605 yards in his career, and has also returned kicks and punts.
The Patriots also re-signed Neal this week.
Neal, a college wrestler who became the starting guard for a Super Bowl champion, was part of a line that allowed 18 sacks last season, the team’s fewest since the league switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
He has been spending his offseason trying to raise money for the California State-Bakersfield wresting team, which is due to be eliminated because of budget cuts.