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Eagles' Darren Sproles Announces He Will Retire After 2019 NFL Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles' Darren Sproles in action during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles' 15-year NFL career will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Sproles announced his decision Saturday with a statement on the team's official website:

"Looking back on my career, I think about the time I stood on the stage inside the RCA Dome getting measured for coaches and scouts at the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine. When my height and weight were announced, I could hear laughing from the audience. I've always been short, it's not the first time I've been made fun of for it, but I started worrying that I might not get picked because of my size. I just needed one team to take a chance on me and I'm thankful for the Chargers.

"I'm proud that I was able to prove my doubters wrong. 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."

The Eagles shared a message on Twitter with highlights from Sproles' career:

Philadelphia Eagles @Eagles

One of a kind. Congratulations on an incredible career, @DarrenSproles. #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/Whgxjp3t75

Sproles' 2019 season came to an end Nov. 15 when he was placed on injured reserve with a torn hip flexor muscle. The 36-year-old had 90 yards from scrimmage on 17 carries and six receptions in six games.

A fourth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2005, Sproles became an unlikely success story. He was frequently underestimated because of his size, which is listed at 5'6".

"The only number scouts cared about was the one number I couldn't control: my height," Sproles wrote for the Players' Tribune in 2015. "'If you were 5-foot-9, you'd be a top-five pick,' they said. But I wasn't. I was 5-foot-6, which meant only one thing to scouts.

"I was too small."

Sproles began his career with the San Diego Chargers as a backup to LaDainian Tomlinson. He signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2011 and played with them for three years.

Since a 2014 trade, Sproles has been with the Eagles. He led the team with 865 yards from scrimmage in 2016. Injuries have limited him to 15 games over the past three seasons.

In 183 career games, Sproles had 3,552 rushing yards, 4,840 receiving yards and 55 touchdowns.