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Marshall William Faulk (born February 26, 1973 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football player in the National Football League. He was drafted 2nd overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 1994 out of San Diego State University (SDSU). He was traded to the St. Louis Rams before the 1999 season.
Marshall Faulk was a stand-out back at San Diego State University (SDSU), compared to Gale Sayers, Roger Craig and Thurman Thomas with his ability to rush and receive. In one of the most prolific performances of his entire career, he ran all over University of the Pacific in just his second collegiate start. In 37 carries, he racked up 386 yards and scored seven touchdowns, both NCAA records for freshmen, and built on this performance throughout the year, compiling one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA history, gaining 1,429 yards rushing, with 23 total TD's (21 rushing), and 140 points scored. Although in the next two seasons, he would not replicate the success of his freshman year, he showed in his final season at SDSU he was still an all-purpose back, catching 47 passes for 640 yards, which aided him in ranking 3rd in all-purpose yardage that year, in addition to finishing 2nd in scoring. Faulk left San Diego State University with many of the school's offensive records bearing his name, amongst them an astounding 62 TD's, which is also the 2nd most in NCAA history.
Indianapolis Era (1994-1998)
Faulk was drafted 2nd overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, who were in desperate need of a running game. Faulk responded by rushing for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown. The Colts improved to 8-8. The next season Faulk rushed for 1,078 yards and 14 total TDs. The Colts made the post-season, going 9-7, and narrowly missed the Super Bowl after a close loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
The next year was a miserable one for Faulk. Because of a toe injury he suffered earlier in the season, he only rushed for 587 yards, with a paltry 3 yards-per-carry average. He recovered from the injury and rushed for 1,000+ yards in each of the next two seasons, setting a new personal high with 1,319 in 1998. He also caught 86 passes for 906 yards that year and was the NFL's leader in total yards from scrimmage with an astounding 2,227, beating out Denver's MVP running back Terrell Davis by 2 yards, while also finishing 4th in the league in receptions. It would also be the first of an NFL-record 4 consecutive 2,000+ total-yard seasons.
St. Louis Era (1999-2005)
Faulk was shipped to St. Louis the following season due to problems he referred to as "misunderstandings", as Faulk had missed practices and was considered holding out for a new contract. Colts President Bill Polian didn't want to have the young team's chemistry damaged, so he traded Faulk for second- and fifth-round picks in the upcoming draft (used by the Colts to draft LB Mike Peterson and DE Brad Scioli).
In his first year in St. Louis, Faulk was the catalyst for "The Greatest Show on Turf", a nickname given to the Rams spread offense formation, innovated by Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz. In this offense he put up some of the best all-purpose numbers in the history of the NFL. Faulk's patience and diligence in learning the Rams offense paid off when he totaled an NFL record 2,429 yards from scrimmage, topping Barry Sanders record of 2,358 yards set in 1997. With 1,381 yards rushing (5.5 yards-per-carry average), 1,048 receiving yards, and scoring 12 touchdowns in a truly fantastic year, Faulk joined Roger Craig as the only men to total 1,000+ yards in each category in a season. The Rams eventually went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV. In the game, Faulk was contained on the ground by Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher's defensive scheme, limiting him to just 17 rushing yards. This is perhaps due to the Titans inability to stop the Rams passing game, which Faulk was a major part of, recording 5 receptions for 90 yards, the second highest amount of receiving yards ever recorded by a running back in the Super Bowl. He was also one of the main reasons why "The Catch" (a 73-yard touchdown reception that scored the final points of the game), as the Rams fans called it, made by Isaac Bruce was successful. Replays showed a last minute block to defensive rookie of the year Jevon Kearse, delivered by Faulk, bought Kurt Warner just enough time to release the ball. For all this effort and success, he received the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award and starter for the NFC squad in the 1999 NFL Pro Bowl.
The following year, Faulk became the first running back in NFL history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons (three in Indianapolis and twice in St. Louis). In addition to this remarkable achievement, Faulk was the MVP in 2000, and again the Offensive Player of the Year. He had 1,359 yards rushing in fourteen games and set a new NFL record with 26 total TDs (a record that would soon be broken by Priest Holmes and later Shaun Alexander, although it should be noted Faulk missed two games in 2000 and would likely have extended the record had he been present in those games). Faulk had 18 scores on the ground, setting a new franchise record, and 8 through the air. He also averaged 5+ yards per carry again, this time with 5.4. But all was not well in St. Louis, as the Rams were not able to replicate the record they had the year prior. Although Trent Green was a spectacular back-up when Kurt Warner was sidelined for five games, the Rams defensive woes were too much for any offense to overcome. Even with the offense scoring the most points and yards during the "The Greatest Show on Turf" era, they gave up 470 points. They slid into the playoffs after finishing 10-6, and were unable to secure home field. They quicky exited as a result, losing to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Wild Card game.
The next season, with Warner healthy, and the defense creating turnovers and putting pressure on opposing QBs, the Rams went 14-2. Faulk finished second in MVP voting to his teammate Kurt Warner, but was named Offensive Player of the Year for the third year in a row. On the strength of their backfield and newly revamped defense, the Rams reached Super Bowl XXXVI, only to lose to the Patriots on a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Faulk did however have an impressive performance in the game, rushing for 76 yards and catching 4 passes for 54 yards against Bill Belichick's defense.
Marshall Faulk had what may have been the best consecutive seasons in league history during these years. In that span, he scored 59 total TD's, amassed 6,765 yards of total offense (4,122 rushing and 2,643 receiving) and won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and three NFL Offensive Player of the Year Awards. He was also named All-NFC, ALL-NFL, and selected for the Pro Bowl in each of those years. He would never again reach the stratospheric statistical levels that he reached in 1999 to 2001, but is still a servicable running back in the NFL. Entering his 12th season, he serves as a reserve tailback on the Rams, behind Oregon State standout Steven Jackson. Although Faulk is no longer a starter, he is still used frequently as a rusher and pass receiver, and continues to achieve significant career milestones. In the 2004 season, Faulk recorded his 100th rushing touchdown, becoming only the 6th player in NFL history to accomplish this feat. In the 2005 season, Faulk moved up to #16 on the NFL's list of all time leading receivers by recording his 765th reception (retired fullback Larry Centers is the only running back with more receptions then Faulk). He also moved up to #9 on the NFL's list of all time leading rushers by surpassing Marcus Allen's total of 12,243 yards.
However, on June 8, 2006, he could not attend the Ram's training camp because one of his knees was not responding even with clean up surgery. On July 21, the Rams announced the Faulk will undergo reconstructive knee surgery and miss the entire 2006 NFL season . As NFL.com reports Marshall is contemplating, and will likely retire this off-season . He is considered to be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he is eligible.
Video Game Presence
In 2002, Faulk was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 03. He was the fourth player to be featured, after Barry Sanders, Eddie George, and Daunte Culpepper. It is believed that there is a "Madden Curse" for the players who are featured on the game's cover, as some have faced extensive injuries and poor season performance. After Faulk was featured on the cover, he injured his ankle and missed six games, preventing him from having an eighth 1,000-yard season.
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Fumble Recovery Stats
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Kick Return Stats
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- Won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1994
- Won the Pro Bowl MVP in 1994
- Won the UPI AFL-AFC Rookie of the Year in 1994
- Won the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2001
- Won the AP NFL MVP in 2000
- Won the PFWA MVP in 2000 and 2001
- Won the Bert Bell MVP Trophy (Maxwell Club) in 2001