This is a couple days late, but I wanted to make sure I got this in before too long...
The long-expected announcement became official on Monday when St. Louis Rams running back and first-ballot future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk retired from the NFL at age 34 after 12 seasons. Now, Faulk delves into the broadcasting world, a foray that served him well last year in his "year off" from football.
Even on great teams, Faulk's sublime presence stood out. On the 1999 "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams, Kurt Warner won the accolades, but Faulk was the fulcrum that kept that machine of an offense moving. His versatility as both an elusive ball carrier and a dangerous pass receiver int he open field kept defenses honest, forcing them to focus more than they would have liked on the Rams' short-mid range game. Of course, that worked to open up opportunities for dangerous deep threats Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.
It was also Faulk, who indirectly, had some influence on the emergence of QB Kurt Warner in that 1999 season. In the preseason game in which then-Chargers safety Rodney Harrison knocked out St. Louis' Plan A starter, Trent Green for the season, it was Faulk who failed to complete his blocking assignment. Of course you know now that opened up the door for Warner, and Super Bowl followed.
I would rank Faulk just behind Barry Sanders as the second greatest running back of his generation. I put him ahead of backs like Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, and Terrell Davis for the plethora of ways he could affect a game. So long from the field Marshall. We'll see you in Canton holding up your bust in 5 years.