Faulk decides to stay in New England

Originally Published: March 5, 2004
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

There is no telling how long his new-found status will last but, for now at least, Kevin Faulk is the starting tailback for the Super Bowl champion Patriots. If for no other reason than by default.

Faulk and the Patriots have reached agreement on a new contract, details of which were not yet available Friday morning.

The former LSU star is the lone tailback on the roster. Starter Antowain Smith was released three weeks ago and Mike Cloud is an unrestricted free agent.

Faulk, 27, spent two days as a free agent as well but there were rumors from the outset of the signing period that his preference was to return to the Patriots. It is believed that there was considerable interest in Faulk from other teams but that he rebuffed those overtures.

A second-round draft choice in 1999, Faulk is coming off a season in which he posted career bests for rushing attempts (178) and yards (638). He is an excellent third-down back, a solid kickoff returner, and the kind of back who is at his best when he gets 8-10 "touches" from scrimmage per game.

For his career, Faulk has rushed for 1,875 yards and eight touchdowns on 502 carries. He also has 178 receptions for 1,577 yards.

The Patriots are expected to use one of their four choices in the first two rounds of the draft to choose a tailback and could add another veteran in free agency.

In a related item, the Patriots have signed three-year veteran defensive end Rodney Bailey of Pittsburgh to a restricted free agent offer sheet. Pittsburgh will have seven days to match the one-year, $1.3 million offer sheet or accept a sixth-round draft choice as compensation.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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