Eagles Bring Back Darren Sproles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The rich got richer on Friday as the Eagles agreed to terms with veteran running back Darren Sproles on a contract for the 2019 season.
Sproles, a Doug Pederson favorite, has been weighing whether to return to play this season and has been working out at his usual pace in San Diego, giving a clear indication that the 36-year-old felt there was still gas in the tank.
“We are excited to bring Darren back. It isn’t very often that you have the opportunity to add a player who has the sixth-most total yards in NFL history," the organization said in a statement. "He is the ultimate professional, and a leader on and off the field. He will add another proven talent to our running back room. His dynamic punt return skills are second to none. We can’t wait to get started next week.”
Philadelphia has seemingly moved on back in April when they selected Mile Sanders in the second round of the draft but the Penn State product missed all of spring work with a hamstring injury putting him behind the curve when it came to learning the offense.
The absence clearly gave the Eagles pause that Sanders would not be able to be the complement to lead back Jordan Howard, at least early, and also highlights a concern that Corey Clement is perhaps also not ready for that role.
With the championship window, open Howie Roseman pulled the trigger on a player Pederson feels very comfortable with.
Sproles will also give Dave Fipp two of the best punt returners of all-time in Sproles and DeSean Jackson.
"My heart is in Philly," Sproles said. "That's where I want to end my career. That team, the city is like a family."
With Howard, Sanders and Sproles as givens for the roster that puts many of the other backs on the roster on notice, a group which includes Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey.
Sproles, who is sixth all-time in the NFL with 19,520 combined yards, is coming off back-to-back injury-plagued seasons. During the Super Bowl campaign of 2017 he tore an ACL and suffered a broken forearm in Week 3 and last season he missed 10 games with a troublesome hamstring injury.
He did ultimately return for the final five weeks of the regular season and the playoffs in 2018-19 and became Pederson's go-to back in key situations.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen