Slater shares memories of Faulk

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk will officially announce his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, capping off a 13-year career spent in its entirety with New England.

For four seasons, Faulk shared a locker room with current Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater.

"More than anything, he epitomizes the kind of player this organization has built its success on," Slater said on Monday. "The kind of guy who's been unselfish over the course of his career, and really stepped up in big moments. He was a huge role player. He became a star as a role player, made plays for this team time after time in big clutch situations.

"I know for me personally, what I'll remember about Kevin is his leadership," he continued. "As a leader, he was second to none. He set an example by the work on the field, and by the way he took young guys under his wing in the locker room."

Faulk's leadership stemmed from his worth ethic, faith and much more, according to Slater.

"I think his faith contributed to that," he said. "I think his work ethic, the example that he set, the type of family man that he was. There were many things that contributed to that. Just the type of man he was in general, aside from what he did on the football field."

Slater said Faulk is missed within the Patriots' locker room.

"That leadership that he provided to this team, it's hard to duplicate," Slater said. "Just from that aspect, a guy like that is going to be missed and has been missed around here, but we are fortunate enough to see him around here every so often and giving us encouraging words. It's always good to see him."

Slater said Faulk helped him through on-field struggles during his rookie season in 2008.

"I remember for me, just personally, dealing with some things my rookie year, on the field," he recalled of a lasting personal memory of Faulk. "Things not necessarily going my way, and Kevin just coming alongside and encouraging me. Picked me up, and being a true leader and a teammate and a friend at a time that I needed one. For me personally, he's done a lot to encourage me and contribute to my development as a professional. So I'm very thankful for that, I'm thankful I got to play with Kevin Faulk."

Faulk, who holds the franchise record for all-purpose yards in a career (12,349), excelled in a third-down, change-of-pace type role. Slater believes Faulk to have been one of the best third-down backs of all time.

"I think he's one of the best to ever do it, as far as third-down backs are concerned," he said. "He could run it, he could catch it, he could do it all. When I think third-down back, I think Kevin Faulk.

"He was very unselfish. I think he had the talent to be a featured back, but he embraced his role, he really worked at it. He wanted to do what he could to help contribute to this team, and he did just that. Not to mention the great skill set that he had as far as catching the ball out of the backfield and being able to run draws and run inside and outside. He was a great back."