Sport - National
Faulk Agrees to New Contract With Rams
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Marshall Faulk, now resigned to a backup role with the Rams, has agreed to a pay cut in a restructured contract that will essentially guarantee he'll end his career in St. Louis.
Faulk, an 11-year veteran who turns 32 Saturday, just finished the third year of a seven-year contract. He would have made $6 million in salary and workout bonuses in 2005.
Under the new four-year deal, Faulk gets a $2 million signing bonus this year, and will earn $2 million in both 2005 and 2006, said his agent, Rocky Arceneaux. Arceneaux said the salary would average $3 million per year over the four years of the deal.
``His motive was not wanting to leave,'' Arceneaux said. ``Obviously with a backup, it's hard to justify making $7 million a year.
``He had options probably to go somewhere else and maybe start, but he felt at this point in his career he had accomplished enough as a starter and he can contribute as a backup.''
Earlier this month, coach Mike Martz said that rookie Steven Jackson would be the starter next season. Jackson was the team's first-round pick last year.
Faulk played his first five seasons in Indianapolis before coming to St. Louis in 1999, helping the Rams win their first Super Bowl that year and winning the NFL MVP the following season. He is the only player in history with 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in four straight seasons, 1998-2001.
He won offensive player of the year awards following the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons and also helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl in the 2001 season.
But injuries and age have slowed him in recent seasons. Sharing time with Jackson last year, Faulk rushed for 774 yards, an average of four yards per carry, and caught 50 passes for 310 yards.
Arceneaux said Faulk has no problem with finishing his career as a backup.
``He figures with less carries and less wear and tear on his body, he can stay healthy and maybe play an extra year,'' Arceneaux said. ``He feels he will be much fresher and without the wear and tear, he can contribute a whole lot more to the passing game.''
The new agreement saves about $1.5 million in salary cap space, which could be important as the Rams try to fill holes to shore up a defense that struggled most of last season, especially against the run.
Last season, Pittsburgh veteran running back Jerome Bettis moved to a backup role after the Steelers signed Duce Staley, and Bettis seemed invigorated, rushing for 100 yards in seven of eight starts after Staley was injured.
But Arceneaux said it wasn't Bettis' example but those of other running backs _ Emmitt Smith and Eddie George _ that Faulk looked to. Smith, the longtime Cowboys star, spent his final two seasons in Arizona. George spent his career with the Titans before playing in Dallas last season and ultimately losing his starting job.
``Marshall had kept an eye on what was going on with other running backs,'' Arceneaux said. ``He didn't want to go out the same way as those guys.''