Faulk on returning to practice

Mike Rodak/ESPN Boston

Running back Kevin Faulk talks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The day Patriots running back Kevin Faulk has been waiting for has arrived. For the first time since tearing his ACL in September of 2010, he returned to practice for the first time.

"I'm not really concerned about the health issue, I'm just concerned about going out there and practicing and not messing up too much," said Faulk, who opened the year on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

This was the first day for Patriots players on the PUP list to return to practice. The team will have three weeks from today to decide whether Faulk is promoted to the 53-man roster or if he lands on season-ending injured reserve.

In addition to Faulk, defensive linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick, who also opened the year on the reserve/PUP list, returned to practice today.

Faulk, now in his 12th season and the longest-tenured Patriot, called the wait to return to practice "long" but he's no longer looking back.

"Now it's getting back to what you love to do and go out there and practice," he said, adding that he's "pretty close to 100 percent."

Faulk joins BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, and rookies Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen as running backs at practice.

Asked if he's anxious and exciting, Faulk said, "All the above. At the same time, I'm trying to keep it under wraps. It's practice, not a game."