Faulk undecided about future

ST. LOUIS -- It's too soon to say whether the Marshall Faulk highlight montage the St. Louis Rams ran at the finish of their home finale was a going-away tribute to the running back.

Faulk, a former NFL MVP who has been used sparingly this year behind Steven Jackson, said he hasn't decided if he wants to keep playing. Earlier this year he agreed to a pay cut in a restructured contract with a new four-year deal.

After the Rams (5-10) were swept by the 49ers for the first time since 1998 in a 24-20 loss on Saturday, Faulk said it wasn't the right time to discuss his future.

"I've been playing football for a long time and it's something I love doing," he said. "So to just give you a quick answer after a hard loss to a division opponent wouldn't even be right."

Then again, he also noted, that it might not be his call.

"You have to understand that although it's a game and it's my career and it's my life and it provides a living for me and my family, it's a business to the people who own it," Faulk said. "And they have to run it.

"There comes a time when they have to make decisions, business decisions," he said.

Faulk had nine catches for 44 yards and three carries for 5 yards against the 49ers. Winding down his 12th season he has 267 yards rushing with no touchdowns and 42 receptions for a 6.4-yard average and one score.

He hasn't had a 1,000-yard rushing season since 2001. Plus coach Mike Martz, who has such great affection for Faulk he named him a "captain in perpetuity" a couple years ago, almost certainly won't be back.

Martz has been cleared to return to duty next week after missing most the season with a heart ailment. It's expected that ownership will reach a settlement on the final year of Martz's contract, given that he has clashed often with the front office.

"A new coach coming in, a new situation, you never know," Faulk said. "I've been around this game long enough to know anything can happen.

"And understanding that's a possibility. Nobody can guarantee you, that's just how it is," he said.

If the end is near, he tied up a few loose ends. Faulk, who has often been difficult for local media to deal with, perhaps gave a clue of his intentions when he explained why he has been that way.

"It's a tough game and I think you guys don't understand sometimes when my answers are harsh or when I'm very critical of the things you guys write because we put in a lot of time and a lot of hard work and it's not to go out there and lose," Faulk said. "It's easy to pick up a pen and be critical of people and not understand the time that's put in or the guy that's out there hurt with a bad back or a bad shoulder.

"You just don't get to see that, so sometimes I'm a little critical of the things that are said or written," he said.