Coach Dick Vermeil didn't seem surprised when Faulk missed the first team meeting Thursday night.
"About yesterday afternoon, I started figuring he probably wouldn't be here," Vermeil said. "Hey, I don't worry about him until he gets here, that's always been my approach."
Faulk, the NFL's best all-purpose back last year with 1,316 yards and 86 receptions, has two years to go on the deal he signed out of college that pays him $2.2 million a year. Agent Rocky Arceneaux and the Rams have discussed a long-term contract that would pay him $5 million a year but have been hung up on the amount of money in the signing bonus.
Arceneaux wants more money up front than the $8 million bonus the Rams have offered because NFL contracts aren't guaranteed. Vermeil said he hadn't discussed the situation Thursday with Jay Zygmunt, a team vice president who negotiates contracts.
The backfield scenario is a familiar one for guard Adam Timmerman, a free agent pickup from the Green Bay Packers who recalled Dorsey Levins' holdout last year.
"I think everybody knows it's business when it comes down to contract time," Timmerman said. "It's nice, though, to have your team intact when you come into camp. I think that's important."
Other players appeared unconcerned.
"I'll see him when I see him," defensive tackle D'Marco Farr said.
Until Faulk arrives, Greg Hill is the No. 1 running back. Hill, who ran for 240 yards in two games before a season-ending broken leg last year, didn't believe this gave him an early shot to impress the coaching staff.
"I'm not worried about anything when Marshall ain't here," Hill said. "Marshall's got to worry about what I'm doing."
Faulk and linebacker Leonard Little, whose flight out of Knoxville, Tenn., was canceled due to weather problems, were the only players not in camp early Thursday night. Little, suspended by the NFL for the first eight games of the regular season after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a fatal auto accident, was expected to arrive later Thursday.
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