Eagles

Darren Sproles and the lost bet that extended his Eagles career

Darren Sproles and the lost bet that extended his Eagles career

Darren Sproles lost a bet and he lost it in a hurry. 

The 36-year-old running back returned to the NovaCare Complex for his 15th NFL season this week because his 10-year-old daughter Devyn is just too fast. 

See, Devyn is a sprinter and the two made a bet. If she made it to the Junior Olympics this summer, her father would return to the NFL for another season. It was also Devyn, you might remember, who convinced her dad to return in 2018 too. 

This time, she let her legs do the talking. In June, Devyn ran a personal record 13.81 in the 100-meter dash at a qualifying event to punch her ticket to the 2019 Junior Olympic Games in North Carolina next week. She also sent her dad off to training camp. 

Right after that race, she was like, ‘Daddy, you gotta go back and play again.’ That was the bet. 

Sproles is appreciative of the support from his family. In late June, he sat down with his wife Michel and their children for a meeting. His family told him if he still loved the game, to go ahead and play another season. He agreed to terms with the Eagles a week ago. 

Why is he back? 

“Because I want that Super Bowl.” 

That’s it? 

“That’s it. That’s what I want.” 

Does he think he’ll get it? 

“We’ve got a chance to get it. If we keep working, we’ve got a chance.” 

Sproles was on the team that won Super Bowl LII, but he was hurt. Aside from his climb up the NFL's all-time all-purpose yards list (he’s in position to move into fifth this season), the quest to play in a Super Bowl is driving him. 

The Eagles weren’t the only team that called this summer — he said there were four — but Philadelphia is where Sproles wanted to be as he finishes out his career. This will be Sproles’ sixth season in Philadelphia since coming in 2014.

“Once you’ve been here, you don’t want to go nowhere else,” he said. 

Sproles initially planned to retire after the 2017 season, but in the third game of the season, he landed in a heap with a torn ACL and a broken forearm. He wasn’t going out like that. 

Then 2018 was going to be his final season. But a nasty and nagging hamstring injury limited him to just six regular-season games. He returned late in the year to give the Birds a spark, but he still wasn’t going out like that either. 

This offseason, while in San Diego, Sproles was working out in May, but didn’t ramp up his workouts until June. He began doing more on the field. Then the Eagles started calling a bit more. Then he made a bet. 

And he was back in the NFL in a flash.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Eagles have reportedly hired Marquand Manuel as the new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles