Monday, 08 August 2011 15:43

Marshall Faulk Remembers New Orleans; Saints Update

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Hall of FameHall of Famer Marshall Remembers New Orleans;

In Canton, Ohio, on Saturday evening Marshall Faulk delivered the most complete speech of  all of the other inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 Faulk covered a lot of bases in his 35-minute thank you. He followed Shannon Sharp, who gave thanks for 26 minutes.  Hall of Fame staffers told he players to keep their thank you speeches to 8-10 minutes.

Faulk is the second New Orleanian to be inducted into the PFHOF.  Steve Van Buren of LSU and the Eagles was inducted in 1965. He lives in Philadelphia and is nearing 90 years old. He's fighting memory loss.

Faulk, the former Carver High standout and Colts-Rams running back lit up the most when talking about his days with the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis.

Faulk starred at tailback for San Diego State, Colts (1994-98) and Rams (1999-2005).

Sharp said even though he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he's not the best player in his family. That player is his older brother, Sterling, who was a star at Green Bay before a neck injury cut his career short.

Slices from Faulk's thank you speech:

"Even when I was a kid selling popcorn in the Superdome because I couldn't afford the ticket to watch the New Orleans Saints, People had bags over their heads then. I wanted to see football. I idolized this game so much. I idolized the professional football players. I actually felt that one day that life would be mine. When that opportunity did come I took it, and literally ran with it."

"This story is deep. I'm from the Ninth Ward. That is the Desire Projects in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Many don't make it out of there. And, even though there were drugs and violence, I never wanted to take drugs or die young. Instead, I channeled every ounce of energy that I had into sports. I played basketball, baseball, football. I ran track. Before whatever season at Carver, I thought basketball was going to be my way out, and eventually my destiny.

"One day, my high school coach Wayne Reese pulled me aside and asked me a question, a simple question. He asked me, how many 5-9 shooting guards do you see playing in the NBA?  You see, I felt like I was a scorer."

"People often ask me, why did I choose San Diego State? I tell them San Diego State choose me. The wide receiver coach for the San Diego State Aztecs, now a coach for the Saints, Curtis Johnson, a New Orleans native,. He was in town on a recruiting trip at our game recruiting another player. He saw my tape, took the tape back to Coach Luginbill and Coach Luginbill said, 'We need to have this kid.' While going through the recruiting process, they were the first school to offer me an opportunity to play running back. I had been a high school All-American defensive back and just a running back who had not received a lot of attention because I played too many positions on offense." (Sean Payton was on the San Diego State coaching staff at that time).

"I spent five years with the Colts. The fans there were wonderful. The city was a terrific place to start my career. But coming from sunny San Diego to Indianapolis, I had a lot to learn.  Those snow days that I thought snow days meant stay at home from practice. You know when you get that call and you think snow means  stay at home because you've never been in snow. That's what it was like for me. In the NFL you practice and play in the snow.

"Played with a great guy there, Peyton Manning.  I only had the opportunity to play one year with him, but he taught me a lot. It was a sight to watch him the maturation process from him from week 1 to week 16. The leadership, dedication and the attention to detail that he demonstrated as a rookie first over-all pick. Buddy, I'm honored to say that I have played with one of the game's greatest."

"I'd give anything to be in the huddle, one minute, 80 yards, down by six, with the Greatest Show on Turf."


The Saints will practice outside Tuesday through Thursday at 4 p.m., weather permitting. ..The Saints open their schedule on Friday at 7 p.m. against the 49ers in the Superdome.

Heavy rains forced the Saints indoors for Sunday's practice. They are off on Monday. Some 3,000 fans attended Saturday's workout...


SOME hither, others yon:

Tim Brando and Solomon Wilcots will be the announcers for the Saints' preseason games again this season. The games will be carried on WVUE-TV and Cox Sports TV...WWL Radio's Mike Detillier believes Saints running back Mark Ingram can be the NFL Rookie Offensive Player of the Year if he can stay healthy...Saints WR Marques Colston missed a third day of practice on Sunday. He's coming off his third knee surgery and he said the coaches told him "to take it easy."...Vanderbilt is the fifth most expensive college to attend in the U.S. Forbes rates the top 5 most expensive college like this (these ratings are based on what freshmen would pay in one year, including room and board): 1) Sarah Lawrence, $57,556; 2)  Bard, $54,210; 3) Columbia, $54,385; 4) Wesleyan, $53, 976; and 5) Vanderbilt $53, 660...

Considering the Saints had to get rid of Reggie Bush to help their bottom line, they came out fine. Darren Sproles will replace Bush nicely...Dan Pompei, in National Football Post: "The hole left by Olin Kreutz's departure left the identity of the Bears will be bigger than the hole left in the offensive line.:.One of the best signings in free agency was the Saints' acquisition of DT Aubrayo Franklin. Getting Olin Kruetz helps fill the hole left by the departure of C Jonathan Goodwin, who'll be back with us on Friday night with the 49ers in the preseason opener at the Superdome...RB Matt Forte of Tulane said he may sit out the Bears' preseason games if he hasn't signed as new contract by then. Is that really such a bad idea?...

Jared Mitchell is hitting .301 since July 1. The former LSU baseball-football player, is back after sliding into second base and tearng an ankle tendon. He was the White Sox' first-round pick in the draft two years ago. Now with the Winston-Salem Rocks of the Northern Carolina League, Mitchell  is in first place in the league in triples (7) and tied for second in doubles (27)...Will Darren Sharper make the Pro Football Hall of Fame? 50-50. It's difficult for safeties to get voted into the Canton shrine...Darren Sproles isn't as dynamic and versatile as Reggie Bush, but the new running back will give Sean Payton the same  type of player for game-planning his toy- chest offense, but Sproles will be able to to do to do just aboui everything with Bush. However, Sproles won't be as effective taking handoffs. Given what the Saints saved in replacing  Bush with Sproles, that was  a nice deal...

Brettt Favre  is retired even though reports he will be coming  comingback for another season. Farve, 42, is at home in Hattiesburg, He walks slowly and gingerly now  andis looking more like an old man....It's over for Favre...Chris Ivory had sports hernia surgery last Friday and will be out for three weeks. He could be headed to the PUP (physically unable to perform) to open the season, Mark Ingram is a safe bet to start this season, with Pierre Thomas and Sharper backing him up. The Saints have a list of running backs they can sign if injuries hit the backs like they did last year...And what pray tell ever happened to former Saints running back Ernie Wheelright?..


by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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