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Faulk will miss entire 2006 season
The rams running back will have major reconstructive knee surgery.
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk will have major reconstructive knee surgery and miss the 2006 season, a blow that could spell the end of his career.
Though coach Scott Linehan said at a news conference Friday that the 33-year-old Faulk wasn't ready to call it quits, retirement might be on the horizon.
"We were hoping for the best, but we've been planning for both scenarios," said Linehan, in his first year with the Rams. "I think reality is setting in for sure that potentially his career is winding down."
Faulk had been contemplating retirement during the offseason, before news of his latest surgery. He didn't attend the news conference, and his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
The 2000 NFL MVP is expected to have the surgery on one of his knees next week. It was unclear which knee would be the focus of the operation. Faulk had lesser surgery on both knees earlier this year.
The Rams will keep Faulk on the roster "because it's Marshall," Linehan said. "Some guys earn that. I believe he's one of them."
Faulk is ninth on the career rushing list with 12,279 yards, 34 yards behind Jim Brown. But he had a career-low 292 yards rushing last year and made only one start, in the season finale when Steven Jackson was out with a hip pointer.
Faulk hasn't participated in the team's minicamps this year.
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection has seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 38 100-yard games, and was the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive seasons from 1998-2001.
But he hasn't had a 1,000-yard season since 2001 and lost his starting job in 2004 when the Rams drafted Jackson in the first round.
The loss of Faulk leaves St. Louis short at running back. Earlier this offseason, the Rams signed Tony Fisher, who had 173 yards and a 2.9-yard average for the Packers last season. For now, he is the No. 2 back.
Linehan said Fisher is best-suited as a third-down back and special teams player, and said the Rams might seek a deal to bring in someone to serve as Jackson's backup.
"You can't just play one running back and expect him to survive the season," Linehan said.
Faulk spent his first five seasons in Indianapolis before coming to St. Louis in a trade in 1999. He led the Rams to a 13-3 record and a 23-16 win over Tennessee in the 2000 Super Bowl in his first season in St. Louis.