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Sports

September 23, 2010

Without Faulk, this could get ugly

FOXBORO — Forget the fearless blitz pickups on charging linebackers.

And the nifty, chain-moving hops, skips and jumps.

Kevin Faulk's absence will hurt most in the character department.

A team desperately lacking in it, which by its own admission spent the last offseason attempting to repair or restock it, lost its No. 1 source in the New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday.

Faulk absorbed a brutal sideline shot that cost him the season with a torn ACL or worse.

Losing Faulk should have Pats fans shivering like a December Monday night tailgate.

Who is going to police these guys now?

Just think about the character that has left since 2007.

Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo, Richard

Seymour, Ty Warren and now Faulk, the elder statesmen, one of the few cornerstones left.

"There's nobody like him. He's such a unique person, a unique talent, a unique spirit about him," said quarterback Tom Brady. "(Kevin) always provides great leadership, so it's a big loss for us. Knowing what he's going through, it's always a challenging time. Believe me, when you love football as much as Kevin does or you love the team as much as Kevin does, he takes it really to heart that he can't be out there with us."

You noticed Sunday as things unraveled for this team, which led 14-3 only to tumble hard, 28-14. Where was Faulk?

He stood, wincing like the rest of us, helpless on the sideline, unable to change the tide with one of those patented screen catch-and-runs.

Facing a monster schedule with a defense that can't stop the forward pass, who does Bill Belichick turn to now?

There's no need to take off the socks and count his toes. Belichick can count his reliable leaders on one hand.

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