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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk acknowledged Tuesday night that he'll "probably" start the season on the physically unable to perform/reserve list while continuing to work his way back from the right knee injury that sacked much of his 2010 campaign.
Entering his 13th year in the league, Faulk admitted it's been tough to be a spectator ever since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second game of last season, but said he's willing to do whatever helps the team, even if the PUP list leaves him unable to return to the gridiron until Week 6 of the 2011 season.
"When you're a player and you've been doing it for this long, you understand the business and understand the game, so you accept your role and move on," Faulk said while addressing reporters before the Patriots' Kickoff Gala Tuesday night at Gillette Stadium. "Keep getting better (while on the PUP list), each and every day, and wait to see when your opportunity comes again. That's been my role for the past 13 years."
"It would be difficult, but that's probably what's going to happen," Faulk said of starting on the PUP list. "I'll deal with it as it comes, that goes with the territory."
Faulk, one of four captains last season, remains the longest-tenured member of the Patriots after inking a one-year, incentive-enriched deal this offseason. He is the Patriots' all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,140) and kickoff return yards (4,098) and is the all-time leading return specialist, totaling 5,031 combined return yards (4,098 kick return yards and 933 punt return yards).
"I feel pretty good," Faulk said. "I went into (coach Bill Belichick's) room, me and him talked, and he said, 'I know if I said I can put you out there right now, you'd give me 120 percent.' And he's probably right, but he was like, 'I want you to be better than 120 percent.' That's Bill. He's just being himself. I told him, 'I understand, whatever it is I can do to help this team win, that's what I'm going to do.'"
That includes being a veteran presence. Faulk acknowledged that he enjoys when the younger players seek him out for guidance. He was spotted during the preseason opener earlier this month celebrating scoring runs with players on the sideline, including fellow LSU product and rookie running back Stevan Ridley. Those moments are helping him grind through not being able to participate.
Could the extended break aid Faulk down the road when he is able to return?
"See, that's a tricky question," Faulk said with a smile. "As you're going through it, you're like, 'How can it be helping me?' But later on, down the line, it might be that it helped me. I can't answer that right now. Right now I'm beating myself up.
"What's really helping me is being able to go to the meetings, interact with the guys, and see what they're seeing on film, that's really helping me out."
Chris Forsberg covers the Patriots and Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.