Eagles Announce Veteran Return Specialist Will Retire After 2019 Season

Darren Sproles Retirement Announcement

Getty Running back Darren Sproles #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a 25 yard touchdown against the New York Giants during the first quarter of the game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 22, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After setting records with three different franchises, Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will officially call it a career after the season to end his 15-year NFL career.

Sproles announced his decision to retire Saturday afternoon in a statement that spoke directly to the Eagles’ fan base posted to the team website. He promised Eagles fans he “gave it everything” he had during his six years in Philadelphia and said he hoped he could enjoy the final moments with them when the team played its final home game on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

“I owe so much to the game of football and I gave it all I had in return,” Sproles wrote. “I gave it everything I had on every play. I rode it until the wheels fell off. That’s the way I played and that’s the way I practiced. When I re-signed with the Eagles back in July, I knew it was going to be my last season, and now my body is telling me it’s time to step away from the game. It’s time to call it a career. So when the season comes to an end, I’m going to officially retire from the National Football League. But I wanted to announce it today so that we can appreciate the moment together on Sunday.”

While Sproles was already ruled out for the season with a torn hip flexor that limited him to just five games in 2019, his announcement charts a career endpoint for a veteran who has made his name as a dynamic return specialist during his time with the Eagles, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers — prior to their move to L.A.

Sproles holds a Chargers franchise record for most career kickoff return yards (6,469) as well as the NFL record for most single-season all-purpose yards (2,696) that he set during his first season with the saints in 2011. After joining the Eagles in 2014, he was named to three straight Pro Bowl rosters, earned two All-Pro distinctions and won a Super Bowl championship in 2017.

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Sproles Left Major Impact on Saints

Sproles was tremendous over his illustrious as an all-purpose playing, currently sitting at fifth on the NFL’s all-time list for all-purpose yards with 19,696, but none of his careers come close to what he did during his time with the Saints.

After spending his first six seasons in San Diego, Sproles signed a four-year, $14 million deal with New Orleans in 2011 and immediately began to earn his money. He had reached 1,000 all-purpose yards in his first seven games as a Saint and finished his first year with career highs in rushing yards (603), receptions (86) and touchdowns (10).

Drew Brees was also firmly in his corner as Sproles caught a number of signature passes from the quarterback that marked milestones, including helping Brees break Dan Marino’s old single-season record for most passing yards. The Saints quarterback didn’t keep his feelings to himself, either, after the Saints traded Sproles to the Eagles after just three seasons together.

“I think a Darren Sproles only comes around once in your lifetime, in my career and in everybody’s career,” Brees said at the time, via NFL.com. “There may be another one 15, 20 years from now. But there’s not many guys like Darren Sproles. He’s a special player, he’s a special person, he’s a special teammate.”

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