Perry Pitre / Houma Courier
A lot has been written about professional athletes having trouble transitioning into the 'real world' after their playing days are over.
None of that, however, appears to apply to Kevin Faulk.
'I'm really enjoying (retirement)', Faulk said at Friday's Pro Football Combine Camp at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. 'I'm getting a chance to get to coach young kids, helping them make the right decisions. It's pretty much the best job you can ask for after playing so long, helping kids take the right path.'
Faulk would seem to be an authority on taking the right path.
After a stellar career at LSU, where he still holds the school records for most all-purpose yards (6,833) and most rushing yards (4,557), Faulk was drafted in the second round by the New England Patriots.
Faulk played his entire 13 year NFL career with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls in the process.
After retiring following the 2011 season, Faulk returned to his native Carencro, where he played his high school ball, leading the Golden Bears to the state Class 5A championship in 1992. Faulk is now an assistant coach and physical education teacher at Carencro High, which is said is a bit of a transition.
'I was talking to one of my old teammates the other day and telling him how completely different my life is now,' he said. 'Instead of waking up early and going to football practice all day, now I wake up early and go to school. It's like going back to college or high school, but kind of reversed. I spent all those years as a student, and I'm a teacher now.'
With the Patriots, Faulk worked with two of the biggest names in football history: head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
'We don't tell a lot of Belichick stories,' Faulk chuckled. 'We just kind of keep them inside and laugh about them to ourselves later on. But he's really intelligent. He has the highest football IQ I've ever seen. I think he's right up there with Vince Lombardi. The man lives football, eats football and sleeps football.'
Faulk said Brady's reputation as a 'glamour boy' was one that wasn't shared by his teammates.
' 'Mr. Glamour Boy' is a title that people gave him,' Faulk said. 'But working with him, you understand why he's so dang competitive and so dang good. He works dang hard. He's not the fastest guy, he's not the strongest guy, but he's got a great head. He understands everything that's happening on the football field. He sees everything. He works so hard, that by the time the game happens, it's second nature for him.'
With his son playing football, Faulk said he's kept up with the stories about concussions in football, but he is philosophical about it.
'We know what we're up against. We've been playing for a long time,' Faulk said. 'We're fortunate that we're able to find out what's going on. But with the way medicine is advancing, there's going to be a cure for it. We choose to play this game.'
Moving back to Saints country after a life as a Patriot could present some problems, but Faulk said there's no conflict.
'No, my allegiance won't shift. I'm sorry, but I'm a Patriot forever,' he said. 'I was there for a long time. I'm not knocking the Saints. I still root for them, except when they're playing New England. I want the Saints to do well. But my roots are still in New England.'
Faulk said he has a message for young people, not just athletes, but all young people.
'Learn to master your craft,' he said. 'Be a master of your craft, and everything you study is your craft.'
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