With trial behind him, Faulk focuses on Rams
Saturday, May 17, 2003
ST. LOUIS -- Life is normal again for Marshall Faulk.
On Friday, four days after being cleared in a domestic abuse lawsuit, the Rams running back was back in his element at the team's minicamp, wearing a helmet instead of a suit and tie.
"My mind's always on football," Faulk said after the first of two two-hour practices. "Regardless if that had been going on or not I was looking forward to this week and being around the guys and getting a feel for what the new team is going to be like.
"Because that's what we are, we're a new team."
A jury deliberated less than two hours on Monday before ruling in favor of Faulk and against Faulk's former girlfriend, Helen Dunne, 27, who was seeking financial damages. Dunne also is the mother of three of Faulk's six children.
Coach Mike Martz attended a portion of the trial last week.
"I'm sure it's a relief for him to get focused on football and get away from all the things he's had to persevere through in the past week or two," Martz said.
Faulk looked at the minicamp as a new start not just for himself, but for the entire team. The Rams were an underacheiving 7-9 last season after losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl the previous year, and have undergone a minor facelift since.
"The worst thing, although we won our last game and that's the memory you want to have, is the way our season went," Faulk said. "It wears on you playing in two Super Bowls and a lot of playoffs, and it's just nice to see the guys out there fresh."
Teammates thought it would be good for Faulk to concentrate on his livelihood.
"We're all family here," quarterback Kurt Warner said. "Anything we can do for him to make it easy. Just getting back together and hanging out with him is good for everybody involved."
The lone no-show at the mandatory minicamp was offensive tackle Orlando Pace, disgruntled at the lack of a new contract after being designated as the team's franchise player in February. Wide receiver Torry Holt, who's entering the final year of the five-year, $10 million contract he signed as a rookie, is participating after rumors that he would skip the minicamp.
It appears he and the team are close to signing a new deal that would rival that of fellow wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who's entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $42 million contract.
"My thing is I'm here working," Holt said. "That's why I've got an agent. I'll let him handle that side of it and we'll continue to work, and hopefully we can get something worked out before the season starts."
Holt, a team captain, said he called Martz earlier in the week to tell him he'd attend the minicamp.
"In my mind, Torry's always going to try to do the right thing," Martz said. "I thought it was excellent that he's here."
Martz said he wasn't worried about the absence of Pace. For the moment, unknown Grant Williams is the starting left tackle.
"That's just the way it goes," Martz said. "Guys have to do what they think is right, and we all go through those contract issues."
Martz announced rookie Pisa Tinoisamoa, the team's second-round draft pick, will be a starter at OLB. ... CB Aeneas Williams, still recuperating from torn ankle ligaments that knocked him out the second half of last season, will be limited this weekend. ... Rookie draft picks Dan Curley, a TE from Eastern Washington, and Scott Tercero, and OG from California, cannot attend the minicamp because their colleges are still in session. ... First-round pick Jimmy Kennedy, a DT from Penn State, participated in workouts Friday after tweaking his left knee in the rookie minicamp last weekend. "The tempo, what our defensive linemen do and the pace with which we do things, he's got to learn that," Martz said. "It's a hard transition. It'll be a culture shock for a while."