Darren Sproles Announces He Will Retire After 2018 Season with Eagles

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Darren Sproles #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball as Olivier Vernon #54 of the New York Giants defends on September 24, 2017  at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will return for the 2018 season, but it will be his last in the NFL, as he announced on Twitter Sunday:

Sproles also explained on his personal blog that he had planned to retire after 2017 before a torn ACL limited his season to just three games.

"When my daughter Devyn looked me in the eye and told me I have to play one more year—well, that was it," the 35-year-old wrote.

Sproles was off to a slow start before the injury with just 144 all-purpose yards in three games, but he had earned Pro Bowl selections in each of the previous three years thanks mostly to his return ability.

The running back led the league in punt return yards in 2014 and 2015 while totaling nine career return touchdowns. He had over 1,100 all-purpose yards in each of his 11 full seasons in the NFL when he played at least four games.

Even after missing last year with the knee injury, the team felt confident in his ability by signing a one-year extension in April.

"It's been a priority to get Darren back," general manager Howie Roseman said, per Dave Spadaro of the team's official site. "We all wanted Darren back. He's a freak. We're very optimistic with where he is."

While the Eagles were able to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history with the veteran on the sideline, he still provides value as a returning and pass-catcher not otherwise available on the roster. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and others will likely battle for snaps in the backfield, but a healthy Sproles will still get his touches.

The question is if he can reach his stated goal of catching Tim Brown for fifth on the all-time list of all-purpose yards. He currently ranks eighth in NFL history, 527 yards behind the Hall of Fame receiver.

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