BOSTON (CBS) — Kevin Faulk endeared himself to Patriots fans (who already loved him) when he wore a Tom Brady jersey to the NFL Draft back in April. On Monday, on the day of his own big event, Faulk dug back into his closet to run the same play.
Faulk wore a Brady jersey once again on his way to the stage for his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.READ MORE: Victim In Lowell Homicide Identified As 22-Year-Old Dejah Jenkins-Minus
Once on stage, with the jersey removed so under his red jacket, Faulk said his connection with Brady is among the biggest reasons he found success with the Patriots.
“Without [Brady], those 400 and whatever receptions would not be possible, without his trust in me, understanding that I understood what he understood. That was my biggest gift to this football team: knowing what Tom Brady knew,” Faulk said. “That’s why when the most pressure situations came, I was successful. Because I knew what Tom Brady knew.”
Brady made a surprise appearance at the end of the ceremony, taking off his jacket to reveal Faulk’s No. 33 jersey.
“I feel a lot faster in this jersey already,” Brady said smiling, “faster more elusive, better hands, a lot tougher.” Brady called Faulk “one of the great ones” and praised his commitment to the team.
Brady was just one of more than two dozen former teammates Faulk thanked in his speech, and he also made special mention of legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
“If it wasn’t for Dante, I wouldn’t have been here after year number two,” Faulk said. “Dante stayed with me each and every day after practice on blitz pickup.”
Faulk also expressed thanks to team owner Robert Kraft.
“I’d like to thank Mr. Kraft, for just being who he is as an owner, for this team, for this organization,” Faulk said. “There are different owners around the NFL that actually try to run their football team. Mr. Kraft is totally different than that. He lets Bill do his thing. And he does his part as far as running the organization.”READ MORE: Boston Store Owners, Vendors Cash In On Small Business Saturday
Faulk showed he’s been keeping up with the news this week, referencing Bill Belichick’s frustrated press conference when praising his former coach.
“There are things and people that say like, ‘Wow, this guy is different.’ Yeah, he is different. He don’t want nothing else but football. He don’t want to answer no media questions. He don’t want to answer if Tom Brady’s going to be the starter when he comes back. He just wants you to play football,” Faulk said.
Faulk added that whenever the Patriots added a running back — whether it was J.R. Redmond or Patrick Pass or Antowain Smith or Corey Dillon — Belichick always gave Faulk a phone call to explain the situation.
“He didn’t have to do that. Did not at all. But he did. That’s a little sign of respect,” Faulk said. “Like my mom always said, if you give respect, it’ll come back to you 10 times.”
Later, Belichick returned the thanks.
“Kevin read off quite a roster of people that he was thanking for all that they did for him. I’d just like to throw that one back to you, and on behalf of all of us that you named, thank you for what you did for us,” Belichick said.
Kraft spoke glowingly of Faulk as well, recalling their first encounters back in the ’90s.
“We love unselfish players who give everything they got on every play. We especially love the little guys who always seem to come up big. And for 13 years when we needed to convert a third down to keep a drive alive, no one came up bigger than Kevin Faulk,” Kraft said. “For more than a decade, Kevin was our Swiss army knife. His cuts … often sliced through defenses and left would-be tacklers grasping for air.”
Kraft, whose options were limited in the DeflateGate fight, also expressed gratitude for Faulk’s jersey choice back at the draft.MORE NEWS: Patriots Plane Flies UNH Men's Soccer Team To NCAA Tournament Game In Oregon
“Kevin was always a player whose actions spoke louder than his words, and that was evident again this past April on day two of the NFL draft,” Kraft said. “He was asked by the NFL to announce the name of our third-round pick, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show his support for a former teammate. His actions not only represented the feelings of the entire Patriots organization; they represented the feelings of the entire Patriots nation.”