PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Free-agent running back Kevin Faulk said on Thursday that he has decided not to retire, and hopes that the New England Patriots will show interest in him returning for a 14th NFL season.
"I am training to come back to play," Faulk told reporters at a community appearance at Hasbro Children's Hospital. "But it's not up to me. It's up to the team and everything, but I am planning on coming back to play, so we'll see what happens."
It was unclear if Faulk had even informed the team of his decision yet. He told reporters that he hoped his announcement Thursday would let the team know he wants to come back
"I'm hoping, I'm just praying," Faulk said. "A phone call will come, but it's not up to me to contact them."
The 35-year old running back, who has spent his entire career with the Patriots, remains unsigned nearly a month into the free-agent signing period.
"It took me awhile to make a decision. But I felt like I needed this time. I've been playing professional football for a very long time," Faulk said. "To have that opportunity, to be able to play again, I wanted to give myself that time to think about it, and I thought about it, and I knew where my heart is, and it's always been there."
Faulk, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 of the 2010 season, began the 2011 season on the physically unable to perform list. He played in seven games last season, but did not play in the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVI.
"Stress, not playing as much as I did before last year, not dressing in the Super Bowl, that weighed into (asking), 'Is it time for you to let it go?'" Faulk explained. "But in (my) mind I still knew that I could play the game of football. Coming back last year, I don't think it was me physically playing the game, I think it was more so mentally.
"If you've been playing the game as long as I've been playing, at the same speed, for the New England Patriots, everything has to be perfect, you have to be perfect," Faulk continued. "And last year didn't feel that way to me at all, until towards the end of the season, but at that point in time, it was too late, because our team was already developed. So in order to sit back and watch your guys perform, and play each and every week, that was a hard thing for me to swallow."
If the Patriots do not bring Faulk back for another season, Faulk confirmed that he has no plans to play elsewhere in 2012.
"That is not going anywhere. If it doesn't come, it doesn't come. I'm content with it," Faulk said. "If a phone call doesn't come from the New England Patriots, are you ready for that? Yes, I am."
In 161 career games with the Patriots, Faulk has more than 7,000 total yards and 31 touchdowns from scrimmage.
Mike Rodak covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.