The Eagles placed Darren Sproles on injured reserve Friday, a move that will end the running back’s season. And maybe his storied NFL career.
Sproles, a player described as a “Hall of Fame specialist” by Doug Pederson, signed a one-year deal to return to the Eagles last July. The diminutive running back made it clear at the time that his main objective was to get back to the Super Bowl and play in the game, something he didn’t get to do when the Eagles won it all in 2018.
Now his 2019 season is over before it ever started. Sproles hinted on Instagram that he may be leaning toward hanging up his cleats after 15 NFL seasons. Sproles will be a strong candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he does decide to ride off into the sunset.
He moved into fifth place on the NFL’s list of all-purpose yardage earlier this year when he jumped head of Tim Brown during a win versus the Jets. Sproles has 19,696 all-purpose yards while serving as a triple threat on kickoff and punt returns, as well as a home-run hitter out of the backfield as a receiver and rusher. His unique skill set may never be duplicated.
The 36-year-old took to Instagram to share some thoughts on his life in football.
“Man what a ride,” Sproles wrote. “I put my all in this game since the age of 8. I played every snap like it was my last. If I never put that #43 on again I have no regrets I gave it my all and I hope I made my family proud!”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson expressed disappointment upon hearing the news Sproles was out for the year.
“This is part of the game,” Pederson told reporters Friday. “It’s disappointing in Darren’s situation, too, because of who he is as a person and what he’s meant to this organization, what he’s meant to this team, his leadership. He’s a Hall of Fame specialist, really, in this league. So I’m disappointed for him, more so for the team obviously, just that he can’t continue.”
Darren Sproles Loves Philadelphia & Eagles Organization
Darren Sproles wasn’t pulling any punches when he returned to the Eagles in July. He was back for one thing: “I want to win that Super Bowl.”
Sproles, who signed a one-year, $1.03 million contract, with the Eagles compared his return to a family reunion.
“We’re all like a family [in Philadelphia],” Sproles said. “From the locker room, from the front office, fans … Once you have been here, you don’t want to go anywhere else.”
The 15-year veteran has been pretty open throughout the offseason about his desire to play for the Eagles. Even after head coach Doug Pederson hinted that the team had moved on from Sproles, the 36-year-old continued to press the issue. According to The News Journal‘s Martin Frank, Sproles had serious interest from four other NFL teams but “he was only coming back to the Eagles or not at all.”
Sproles was set to primarily serve as the Eagles’ fourth running back and return specialist in 2019. However, he wound up playing in just six games before a nagging quadriceps injury derailed what may have been his NFL swan song.