darren sproles

Darren Sproles says goodbye to football: 'My body is telling me it's time'

Darren Sproles says goodbye to football: 'My body is telling me it's time'

After more than 8,000 scrimmage yards, 64 touchdowns and the 5th-most all-purpose yards in NFL history, Darren Sproles will retire after this season.

The 36-year-old Sproles officially announced the decision that's been expected on Saturday afternoon.

“My body is telling me it’s time to step away from the game,” Sproles said in a first-person farewell to the NFL on the team’s web site.

Sproles spent six years with the Eagles and made the Pro Bowl in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but injuries have limited him to just 15 games over the last three years.

Sproles, on Injured Reserve for the third straight year, has just 66 rushing yards and six catches this year, but he finishes his career with 3,552 rushing yards and a 4.9 average, 553 receptions for 4,840 more yards, a 9.5 career punt return average and nine return touchdowns, including nine on punts.

“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.”

At just 5-foot-6, Sproles became by far the most productive player of his stature in NFL history.

He was only a 4th-round draft pick of the Chargers back in 2005 but finishes his career with more total yards than everybody in NFL history other than Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

I’m proud that I was able to prove my doubters wrong,” Sproles said. “They told me that I wouldn't make it past a year in the NFL. Fifteen years later, I'm fifth all time in NFL history in career all-purpose yards. Look at the names who are above me on that list: Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith. To be part of such an outstanding group is an incredible honor. But it also goes to show that no matter what people say about you, you can still achieve great things if you believe in yourself and put in the work.

Sproles spent six years with the Chargers and three with the Saints.

The only players in NFL history with 3,000 rushing yards, a 4.5 rushing average and 500 receptions are Sproles, LeSean McCoy and Tiki Barber.

His 4.9 rushing average is No. 8 in NFL history. His seven punt return TDs are 7th-most in NFL history, and his nine total punt/kick returns are 6th-most ever, behind Devin Hester (19), Mitchell (13), Eric Metcalf (12), Dante Hall (12) and Josh Cribbs (11).

Sproles thanked Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson and had particularly fond words for Duce Staley, his position coach.

He didn’t mention Chip Kelly, who he played two seasons for.

Sproles played his first NFL game on Sept. 11, 2005, for the Chargers against the Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

He played what appears to be his final game on Nov. 3 for the Eagles against the Bears at the Linc.

He went on Injured Reserve on Nov. 15 with a torn right hip flexor.

Spending the past month on Injured Reserve has been hard,” he wrote. “I want to be out there with my guys. But I've had the chance to spend a lot of time with my family and I'm at peace with this decision. My kids are kind of sad that my career is coming to an end because they told me that they love to see me play. They inspired me. They kept me going. I'm proud that they were able to see me play at a high level because I wanted to show my kids that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, as long as you are willing to work hard for it. There's no quit, especially when times get tough and rocky.

At some point in the next couple years Sproles will be added to the Eagles Hall of Fame.

This might be the end of Sproles’ career, but he’ll be an Eagle forever.

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10 incredible stats to appreciate the greatness of Darren Sproles

10 incredible stats to appreciate the greatness of Darren Sproles

Darren Sproles is 36 years old, has played only 17 of a possible 53 games over the last three seasons, and now his 15th NFL season is over, thanks to yet another injury.

Sproles probably won't play football again, which means his career will most likely end with 183 games, 3,552 rushing yards, 553 catches, 8,392 yards from scrimmage and a staggering 19,696 all-purpose yards.

There's never been anybody like him.

Sproles stands 5-foot-6, and nobody 5-6 or shorter is within 10,000 career yards of Sproles in NFL history.

Nobody his size has half as many yards.

Right now, it's easy to think of Sproles as another broken-down veteran who probably stuck around too long.

But pretty soon we'll all look back at his remarkable career and marvel at what he was able to accomplish, especially in those electrifying first three seasons with the Eagles.

Let's start with 10 amazing Darren Sproles stats! 

• Sproles is one of only 31 players in NFL history with 3,500 career yards both rushing and receiving. Of those 31, his 4.9 career rushing average is highest. Hall of Famer Lenny Moore is second at 4.8.

• Despite starting just 31 games in his career, Sproles’ 553 receptions are 12th most in NFL history by a running back.

• Sproles’ nine consecutive seasons with at least 200 yards both rushing and receiving is the sixth-longest streak in NFL history, behind Marshall Faulk, Walter Payton, Thurman Thomas, Matt Forte and Curtis Martin.  

• Sproles’ nine combined punt and kick returns are sixth most in NFL history, behind Devin Hester (19), Brian Mitchell (13), Dante Hall (12), Eric Metcalf (12) and Josh Cribbs (11). 

• Of the 31 players in NFL history with at least two TD returns on both kick and punt returns, Sproles has the fourth-most yards of offense, behind only Hall of Famers Steve Van Buren, Ollie Maison and Gale Sayers.

• Sproles has the seventh-most combined kick and punt return yards in history with 11,313. Four of the top seven on that list played for the Eagles (Mitchell, Allen Rossum, Mel Gray and Sproles).

• In what very well was his second-to-last career game, Sproles passed Hall of Famer Tim Brown and moved into fifth place in NFL history with 19,696 career all-purpose yards. He trails only Jerry Rice, Mitchell, Payton and Emmitt Smith.

• Sproles’ streak of 11 consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 all-purpose yards from 2005 through 2016 is third longest in history behind only 12-year streaks by Frank Gore and Smith. Mitchell and Rice also had streaks of 11 straight years with 1,000 yards. Sproles is the only player in NFL history with four straight seasons with at least 2,200 total yards (2008-11).

• Sproles is the only player in NFL history with 2,500 yards rushing, receiving, returning kicks and returning punts. 

• Sproles and Deion Sanders are the only players in NFL history with four punt return touchdowns after their 30th birthday.

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With injuries at running back, Eagles bring back Jay Ajayi

With injuries at running back, Eagles bring back Jay Ajayi

Updated: 5:10 p.m.

Jay Ajayi was indeed in the NovaCare Complex on Friday morning for a workout and it apparently went well. 

The Eagles officially signed him on Friday afternoon. They also placed Darren Sproles on IR. 

On Friday morning, we learned why the Eagles were interested in Ajayi. Sproles is out for the year and Jordan Howard has a stinger and hasn’t yet been cleared for contact.

That left Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as the only healthy running backs on the roster. Sanders is the only healthy running back from the original 53-man roster. 

Earlier this morning, Pederson confirmed that Ajayi was in the building. 

“We'll see where he’s at physically, see where he is health-wise,” he said.

Apparently, Ajayi’s knee checked out. 

It’s hard to believe, but Ajayi is still just 26. He’s coming off an ACL tear last season and he already had issues with his knees, which is the easiest explanation for why he’s unsigned in November. 

Because during his career, Ajayi has been a really good player. He has a career yards-per-carry average of 4.5 and was very good for the Eagles during their Super Bowl run in 2017 and even the first quarter of the 2018 season. 

During last season, Ajayi wasn’t shy about how important the contract season was for him. He wanted to earn a big contract somewhere, but that was derailed by the ACL injury. 

The Eagles initially picked up Ajayi for a fourth-round pick at the 2017 trade deadline. Before that deal, there were questions about Ajayi’s locker room presence, but he ended up being a great fit in Philly and helped seal a Super Bowl title. 

It’s also important to remember that Ajayi hasn’t played in over a year. He tore his ACL on Oct. 7 last season. He probably won’t be able to carry a heavy workload early or perhaps ever again, but the Eagles obviously think he might have something left. 

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