Darren Sproles has made it through two consecutive practices for the first time in months and the 35-year-old running back expects to play on Monday against Washington.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
While many have angrily written Sproles off this season, the veteran running back has desperately been trying to return from a hamstring injury he suffered in practice the week after the opener. He has missed the last 10 games.
He wouldn’t go into detail on Friday about the injury that kept him out, but said it was “more than a simple hamstring injury.”
Sproles said this has been the most frustrating injury of his career. After all, he spent all offseason rehabbing from a torn ACL with the goal to not go out like that. He wanted to make his last NFL season special and he hasn’t been able to play all year.
It’s been equally frustrating for fans, some of whom have been ready to move on from Sproles for weeks because of this lingering situation.
And I get why fans are frustrated but a lot of anger has been misplaced. It’s not like Sproles wanted to miss this time. Did the Eagles make a mistake in bringing him back or by keeping him on the roster this long? Maybe. But that’s not his fault. He’s just been constantly working to get back on the field.
And if Sproles can get back on the field Monday, he could still help the Eagles. The Birds haven’t had a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield this season and Sproles could provide that. If nothing else, he could help the return game and is a stout pass protector.
During these last few trying months, Sproles said his family and teammates have helped him get through.
“You know, it’s tough,” he said. “But you just gotta keep on grinding. You know what I’m saying. You just can’t quit.”
If Sproles does return on Monday, he said he isn’t sure what kind of role he’ll have. He said we’ll see.
Before the injury, Sproles had five carries for 10 yards and four catches for 22 yards in the season opener against Atlanta. A lot has happened in Sproles’ absence: Jay Ajayi went down for the year and Josh Adams has ascended into a starter’s role. But Doug Pederson can probably still find a way to use the Swiss Army knife.
Right now, Sproles is sitting in sixth place all time in all-purpose yards with 19,216. Next up on the list is Tim Brown with 19,682.
The idea this season was for Sproles to come back and have a nice season to finish off what has been a special career. After being forced to miss most of this season, would he consider playing another year?
“Who knows?” Sproles said. “Who knows?”
If these are the final five games of Sproles’ career, hopefully he can go out on a good note, trying to help the Eagles make a last-ditch playoff push. And hopefully, Eagles fans will be able to cheer him on a few more times.
He deserves that.
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