The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing Darren Sproles into training camp. The team announced they had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the veteran running back. Sproles missed 10 games last season while dealing with a hamstring injury, after spending much of the Super Bowl year on injured reserve.
Sproles will join an extremely crowded backfield in Philadelphia that includes a rotation of Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Wendall Smallwood, plus younger guys fighting for roster spots like Josh Adams, Donnell Pumphrey Jr. and Boston Scott. Obviously, Sproles has added value on special teams as an experienced and explosive return man. The Eagles have been looking for a quality punt returner since Sproles left.
“We are excited to bring Darren back. It isn’t very often that you have the opportunity to add a player who has the sixth-most total yards in NFL history,” the Eagles said in a statement. “He is the ultimate professional, and a leader on and off the field. He will add another proven talent to our running back room. His dynamic punt return skills are second to none. We can’t get wait to get started next week.”
Sproles had been vocal about his desire to play this season for any team that wanted him, but never hid his desire to return to the Eagles. Sproles ranks sixth all-time in all-purpose yards (19,520) and needs only 162 yards to overtake Raiders great Tim Brown for fifth place.
“My heart is in Philly. That’s where I want to end my career,” Sproles said. “That team, the city is like a family.”
In addition to the Eagles, he had cited the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers as the squads high on his wishlist. He has repeatedly said: “If the right team calls, then I’ll go back.” Sproles did flash signs of life for the Eagles last season and racked up 280 all-purpose yards in six games down the stretch.
Sproles had also been keeping in football shape this offseason, most notably working out with Eagles second-year back Donnel Pumphrey Jr. who commented on Twitter that the 36-year-old still “got that edge.” It will be interesting to see what kind of role the Eagles have for him in 2019.
Many of Sproles’ teammates flocked to social media to express their joy at the news the diminutive running back would be joining them next week at training camp, including Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson. Ertz even posted the goat emoji to show how much Sproles meant to the team. The Eagles open training camp on July 24 in South Philadelphia and their first practice is slated for July 25.