Darren Sproles has been among the most unique running backs in football over the course of his career. A legitimate threat to find the end zone whenever he touched the ball, Sproles’ teams always found a way to involve him in a gameplan, whether it was on the ground, in the air, or in the return game.
Now, Sproles’ football career is coming to an end. The current Philadelphia Eagle announced that his career will wrap up at the conclusion of this season in a letter on the team’s website, saying that he has known this was going to be it ever since he signed a new deal with the team this past offseason.
“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.”
The team placed Sproles on the injured reserve last month due to a torn hip flexor, and this season, he appeared in six games with one start. One of the league’s most difficult matchups during his prime, Sproles ran the ball 732 times for 3,552 yards and 23 touchdowns as a member of the Chargers, Saints, and Eagles. He also hauled in 553 passes for 4,840 yards and 32 scores, and was a menace in the return game: Sproles returned 332 kickoffs and 311 punts during his career and scored nine total touchdowns as a returner.
In an era where running backs are expected to make their impact felt all over the field, Sproles was among the NFL’s most entertaining players, even if his prime didn’t quite coincide with the years that versatility among running backs becoming paramount. Still, he was a two-time first-team All-Pro selection, and in 2018, he ascended to the sport’s mountaintop, winning the first and only Super Bowl of his career.