During my career in and around the National Football League, I had the opportunity to work with many great players!
My early work to secure an NFL expansion team for St. Louis included NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton. Payton made a mark on the football field, but also off of it. The NFL's highest award for player community involvement, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, was renamed in his honor.
Ironically, as the head of the Rams Foundation from 1997-2009, I got to work with another legendary running back! This weekend I salute another champion on and off the field—Marshall Faulk. As Marshall is inducted this weekend as the first St. Louis Ram, I reflect on the opportunities we had to help Marshall make an impact on St. Louis.
Faulk was born February 26th, 1973, in New Orleans, Louisiana to parents Roosevelt and Cecile Faulk. The youngest of five brothers, he grew up in the Desire Housing Projects 9th ward. Sports were always a great escape from the bad influences in the neighborhood and at a young age began shaping Marshall into the man he is today.
Faulk's love of the game started early on while playing at George Washington Carver High School. He excelled at four different positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver and cornerback, even lettering in track and field. Marshall also excelled in the classroom, and especially loved math. He learned early on the importance of good grades and a strong education.
In St. Louis, he was personally involved in the creation of the Rams 28 Club in several public housing projects in St. Louis, St. Charles and East St. Louis, IL. His ongoing efforts helped to reward youth for positive advancement in the classroom and as good citizens. Each fall the program kicked off and a large football field tracked the progress of the youth in the various centers. Marshall provided awards for various yard lines and a culminating party at Rams Park for those who scored a touchdown. His personal involvement made a huge difference in the lives of many young people in our area.
Marshall has continued his charitable efforts through the Marshall Faulk Foundation. For more information: http://www.marshallfaulk.com
I salute Marshall for his efforts both on and off the field—he is a difference maker!