Since Tom Brady took the Patriots’ reigns in September of 2001, the number of core guys who have been along for the entire ride has dwindled. But according to those still involved in it, that actually makes the journey that much sweeter.
Whether they win or lose on Sunday, the Patriots’ hub during this run [quarterback Tom Brady, running back Kevin Faulk and offensive tackle Matt Light] have learned to truly appreciate this rare stretch of good fortune. Each know how turbulent the NFL life is and how much roster upheaval there is annually, so they take pride in knowing they’ve survived – and thrived – together.
“This makes things extra special [because] you’ll have those memories forever,” Brady said when asked to describe his feelings this week. “It’s a bit surreal being here sharing this experience with this team; sharing this with the guys who have been here since the beginning. Overall, we’re a close team. That’s what puts things in perspective because of how hard it is to get here. You tend to appreciate it more.”
Faulk, who has made a living off making clutch catches and big runs during his 13-year career, said the longevity of the trio comes down to always being prepared to step up when needed most. He said when a player like himself or Brady steps into the league and immediately starts making plays, it’s easier to build the trust of the coaching staff when asked to perform in pressure situations.
“The QB and head coach have been consistent, that’s one thing. And they’ve trusted me when needed most,” Faulk said. “I’ve managed to be consistent. You need to make plays and be ready when your name is called. And when you do that you’ll be here for a while.”
Faulk then added it also helps to have someone like head coach Bill Belichick in his corner, constantly trusting enough in him to give the running back opportunities to come through.
“Two words, Bill Belichick,” Faulk said when asked how he’s managed to have such good fortune during their run. “There’s a consistency with him. We go into each year knowing that each team is different, regardless of what happened in previous seasons. But he always comes back to the guys he feels most comfortable with.”
When asked why he thinks Brady has had such sustained excellence, Faulk shrugged matter-of-factly and said that the former sixth-round pick plays with an edge and passion that’s not matched by many.
“It’s simple. He [Brady] just continues to want to get better, no matter what he’s already accomplished,” said Faulk.
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