One of my all-time favorite Eagles has got to be the Mighty Mouse himself, Darren Sproles. Standing at just 5’6”, Darren Sproles is a true envisionment of an athlete. Many may think to be a pro, you have to be the biggest, the strongest, and the fastest. Sproles stands as an inspiration to all that isn’t true. Though very strong and fast, Darren Sproles lacks size. Yet the man made a legendary career disproving the stereotype that big athletes are best.
Know Your Role
There is a loveable nature of Darren Sproles’ selflessness that makes him an easy fan favorite. Over the past decade, many approaches to the RB position for the Birds have been based on a community of backs. There are certain guys for certain situations, and the Eagles have not had a main guy since the days of LeSean McCoy. Over Sproles’ 5 year tenure as an Eagle, he has not once complained about this approach. Sproles knows his role and willingly takes part to impact the team in whatever way he can. Whether he is throwing the hard blocks to protect the QB that many newer guys are hesitant to do, or shattering the ankles of those attempting to tackle him as he sprints down the field with fans roaring in the background, his game remains at a high-intensity level that is truly remarkable.
Unfortunately, no one is safe from Father Time. As Sproles has gotten older, he has become more prone to injury, with 2 devastating injuries that ended his 2017 season, and greatly reduced his role in 2018. The 35-year-old signed a one-year contract last season. It is unknown whether he will choose to call it a career or give it one more chance for an injury free season. Even if he doesn’t return for the 2019 season, he has already cemented his legacy in the NFL.
Swiss Army Knife
Over Darren Sproles’ 14 year career, across 3 teams (Chargers, Saints, Eagles) he has racked up 19,520 yards from scrimmage. Accomplished through punt returns, rushes, and receiving, he comes in 6th all-time in all-purpose yards. Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, and Walter Payton are a few of the only names ahead of him on this list. This places him among some pretty legendary company. He scored 32 TDs over his career, only lost 2 fumbles, had a total of 547 receptions, and averaged 4.0 yards per carry. He has been a solid return man, blocker, shifty back, and pass catcher everywhere he has gone. Sproles is like a human Swiss Army Knife, whatever you need him to be, he’ll be. It is this multi-purpose feature, along with his constant effort and determination, that makes him one of my favorite Eagles of all time.