Darren Sproles

Eagles Hire Darren Sproles, Brent Celek For Personnel Roles

The Eagles added former pass-rusher Connor Barwin to their front office last month, and now they’re adding two other high profile former players. Philadelphia is hiring former running back Darren Sproles and former tight end Brent Celek, according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Bowen adds that they both got the title of personnel consultant. Sproles announced back in December that he’d be retiring after the year. The legendary pass-catching back spent the last six seasons of his career with the Eagles, and finished his career fifth all-time in all-purpose yards. Celek was an Eagle all the way through, spending all 11 seasons of his pro career in Philly from 2007-17. He retired after winning Super Bowl LII with the team.

The Eagles also made some other staffing moves, hiring strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath away from the Rams to be their new director of sports performance. Rath gained some fame as Sean McVay’s ‘get-back’ coach, and was later charged with sexual battery before being acquitted. A source told Bowen that the team did their due diligence, and felt comfortable with Rath’s explanation and acquittal.

Philly also promoted exec Jeremiah Washburn to the role of player personnel director. Interestingly, he’ll also serve in a coaching role as a “senior defensive assistant.” As Bowen points out, it’s a bit of an unusual arrangement for someone to have a scouting and coaching role at the same time. They also rounded out their offensive coaching staff, hiring Aaron Moorehead as receivers coach. He previously had been the receivers coach at Vanderbilt. The Eagles announced yesterday they wouldn’t hire an offensive coordinator.

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RB Darren Sproles To Retire After 2019 Season

Darren Sproles is set to call it a career. The Eagles announced on Twitter that the veteran running back will retire following the season.

The 36-year-old had previously hinted about retiring following the 2019 campaign. After backtracking out of a potential 2017 retirement, Sproles’ 2018 season was intended to be his final year in the NFL. Unfortunately, that season was derailed by a broken arm and a torn ACL, and the veteran made it clear that he didn’t want to go out like that. He ended up re-signing with the Eagles in July, and the veteran contributed 90 yards of offensive in six games (he also returned 11 punts).

Unfortunately, Sproles suffered a partial tear of his right hip flexor against the Jets on Oct. 6 and, at some juncture, aggravated the injury further. Sproles went through four weeks of rehab after the initial injury against Gang Green and managed to play against the Bears on Nov. 3. However, doctors later found that he had suffered a much more serious tear of the muscle. He landed on the injured reserve back in November, ending his season.

Over the course of 14 seasons with the Eagles, Saints, and Chargers, Sproles has earned three Pro Bowl trips with a strong 4.9 yards per carry average. He’s also been a remarkably effective pass-catcher – in his three seasons with the Saints, Sproles totaled 232 grabs for 1,981 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air.

Fortunately for Sproles, he achieved one of his goals for the 2019 season: he jumped Tim Brown for fifth place on the all-time all-purpose yards list.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Darren Sproles Done For Season

The Eagles announced that running back Darren Sproles is done for the season. The veteran suffered a partial tear of his right hip flexor against the Jets on Oct. 6 and, at some juncture, aggravated the injury further. 

Sproles went through four weeks of rehab after the initial injury against Gang Green and managed to play against the Bears on Nov. 3 after he was cleared. Later, doctors found that he had suffered a much more serious tear of the muscle.

Sproles, 36, re-signed with the Eagles in July. Despite his advanced age, he was hoping to return to his old form after losing the bulk of the 2018 season to a broken arm and a torn ACL. All the health issues left a bad taste in his mouth, and he didn’t want to go out like that.

“That’s my whole thing,” Sproles said over the summer. “I want a full year. I want to get up to top-four or top-five in all-purpose yards, like ever. Right now, I’m number six. If I would have played a full year last year, I’d be number four right now.”

Unfortunately, this latest injury could be the end of the line for the fan favorite. His 2019 season concludes with just 17 carries for 66 yards, plus six catches for 24 yards.

Over the course of 14 seasons with the Eagles, Saints, and Chargers, Sproles has earned three Pro Bowl trips with a strong 4.9 yards per carry average. He’s also been a remarkably effective pass-catcher – in his three seasons with the Saints, Sproles totaled 232 grabs for 1,981 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Packers, Adams, Cardinals

No surprise here, but Davante Adams will miss another game this week, per the Packers‘ final injury report. This marks the wide receiver’s third-straight missed contest as he rehabs from a toe ailment.

Adams had a strong start to the season with 25 receptions for 378 yards before going down and seemed on his way to matching last year’s 111/1,386 posting. The Packers were able to get past the Lions without him and they’ll aim to do the same against the Raiders.

Here’s the latest on other bumps and bruises from around the NFL:

  • Uh oh – Cardinals running back David Johnson is dealing with a new injury. After tweaking his back against Atlanta, Johnson will be a game time decision thanks to a sore ankle, head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters.
  • The Cowboys will have offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, and cornerback Byron Jones are set to play on Sunday against the Eagles, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. All five are listed as questionable for the game, but they took the practice field and Friday and should be good to go.
  • The Eagles, on the other hand, will try to fly without: linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot), cornerback Avonte Maddox (concussion/neck), tackle Jason Peters (knee), and running back Darren Sproles (quadricep).
  • Wide receiver Kenny Stills is set to return on Sunday against the Colts, per the club’s injury report.

Injury Updates: Rudolph, Bausby, Hicks, Gallman, Sproles

Some key injuries around the league from today’s action:

  • There was a scary scene in Pittsburgh, when Mason Rudolph was knocked unconscious by a hit from Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph was knocked out cold, and was visibly disoriented even after waking up. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Fortunately, Rudolph was cleared to go home from the hospital and is “doing well,” a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges took over for Rudolph, and he looked surprisingly competent. The Samford product, recently signed from the practice squad after Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury, will start against the Chargers next week if Rudolph can’t go.
  • Speaking of scary injuries, Broncos cornerback De’Vante Bausby suffered one as well. Bausby was taken to a hospital, and Denver initially said they were waiting on MRI results for his “head and neck area before determining whether it’s safe for him to fly home or stay a night for observation,” according to a tweet from Mike Klis of Denver 9 News. Klis notes that head coach Vic Fangio said he was told Bausby “cleared the serious stage,” but wouldn’t say much more. Fortunately, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic later tweeted that Bausby had been released from the hospital and would make the flight back to Denver with the team. Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth tweeted that Bausby was diagnosed with a cervical sprain. Hopefully everything turns out alright for the former AAF star, who was recently inserted into the starting lineup.
  • The Bears lost as big favorites to the Raiders in London, and their day got even worse. Star defensive lineman Akiem Hicks hurt his elbow, and it doesn’t look good. Speaking after the game, head coach Matt Nagy didn’t sound overly optimistic. “I don’t think it is, but I don’t – again, I’ll get into more and find out more details,” Nagy said, when asked if the injury was season-ending, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Hicks made the Pro Bowl last year, and is a key cog in Chicago’s elite defense. Fortunately they have their bye in Week 6, but it sounds like Hicks is going to miss some time.
  • The Giants’ running back situation just got even more dire. Of course, they were missing workhorse Saquon Barkley, who is sidelined with an ankle injury. Wayne Gallman took over for Barkley as their lead back, and he was quickly ruled out with a concussion during their Week 5 loss to the Vikings. New York plays on Thursday Night Football against the Patriots this week, so Gallman will have a tough time getting cleared in just a few days. There’s been some talk Barkley could return for that game, although that still seems unlikely. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will be looking to pull off a shorthanded miracle.
  • Eagles running back Darren Sproles reached a new milestone in his illustrious career, but then got nicked up shortly after. During Philly’s win over the Jets Sproles moved into fifth place on the all-time all purpose yards list, but then left the game with a quad injury. Sproles hasn’t been playing too big of a role so far this season as the Eagles look to keep the 36-year-old fresh, but this is still something to monitor. There was no word on the severity right away.

Contract Details: Sproles, Kendricks, Hawks

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

  • Darren Sproles, RB (Eagles): One year, $1.33MM. $600K fully guaranteed, including a $300K signing bonus. $650K in performance bonuses, classified as NLTBE incentives, exist in Sproles’ contract for a Pro Bowl appearance and unspecified yardage totals, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets.
  • Lance Kendricks, TE (Patriots): One year, $1.02MM. Kendricks’ $50K signing bonus represents this deal’s only guarantees. If he makes the team, he will earn a $930K veteran minimum base salary. Kendricks, who can also earn $40K worth of per-game roster bonuses, will count $735K toward New England’s cap, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets.
  • Earl Mitchell, DT (Seahawks): One year, $930K. $90K signing bonus. Mitchell will carry a $735K cap number, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes.

Eagles Re-Sign Darren Sproles

Darren Sproles is coming back for at least one more year. The veteran is signing a one-year deal with the Eagles, the team announced on Twitter. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the deal has a base value of $1.03MM and includes a $300K signing bonus. Plus, $600K of his base pay is guaranteed.

We heard back in May that Sproles was interested in returning for one more year, but that he wanted to play with one of the teams he already had familiarity with, meaning the Chargers, Saints, and Eagles. After Sproles only played in three games due to a broken arm and torn ACL in the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning season, he said 2018 would be his last year in the league. But injuries ruined last year for him too, and he missed ten games.

All the health issues left a bad taste in his mouth, and he didn’t want to go out like that. “That’s my whole thing,” Sproles said recently when speaking to Dr. David Chao of the Pro Football Doc podcast. “I want a full year. I want to get up to top-four or top-five in all-purpose yards, like ever. Right now, I’m number six. If I would have played a full year last year, I’d be number four right now.”

Sproles will now be joining a crowded backfield in Philadelphia, with Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams (among others) already in tow. In a tweet, Tim McManus of ESPN.com writes that the “coaching staff had been keeping door open for [Sproles].” He might not play quite as big of a role as he did in the past, but Sproles will still be a valuable change-of-pace back who can catch passes well out of the backfield, and he’ll be a nice veteran presence in a mostly young group.

Now Sproles will get the chance to go out with the full 16-game season that he wants, as well as to climb the all-purpose yards leaderboards. He’s 36 now, but he’s still been pretty good when he’s been healthy the last couple of years. Last year, Sproles carried the ball 29 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, and he dded 15 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned ten punts for 83 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Sproles, Coleman, Broncos, Raiders

Veteran free agent running back Darren Sproles has been limited to only nine games over the past two seasons. Therefore, as the 35-year-old continues to search for his next gig, he’s seemingly focused on two things: playing in all 16 games and climbing up the all-time lists.

“That’s my whole thing,” Sproles told Dr. David Chao of the Pro Football Doc podcast (via Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philly). “I want a full year. I want to get up to top-four or top-five in all-purpose yards, like ever. Right now, I’m number six. If I would have played a full year last year, I’d be number four right now.”

Sproles currently has 19,520 all-purpose yards, trailing Jerry Rice (23,546), Brian Mitchell (23,330), Walter Payton (21,803), Emmitt Smith (21,564), and Tim Brown (19,682) on the all-time list.

Let’s check out some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Former first-round wideout Corey Coleman has compiled less than 800 receiving yards since entering the league, and he’s played with four teams in three seasons. However, the Giants receiver remains confident. “You haven’t seen the best of Corey Coleman yet,” the receiver told Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. “I feel like I’m getting better and better, and I’m just trying to stay humble and do what they ask of me. I’m happy to be here, and I’m not worried about what happened and didn’t happen in the past. I don’t look back in time. I’m comfortable with this team and in this offense, and I’m excited to show everything people thought I could do and I know I can still do in this league. Nothing’s given to you, and it’s my job to prove it.”
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post gave his early projections for the Broncos‘ 53-man roster. The writer believes the team will keep a pair of quarterbacks (Drew Lock and Kevin Hogan) behind starter Joe Flacco, forcing Brett Rypien to the practice squad. Other notable predictions include the decision to keep two fullbacks (Andy Janovich and George Aston) and cut former second-round defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
  • Raiders first-round safety Johnathan Abram is already making a name for himself in OTAs. As Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the rookie has been working alongside Karl Joseph as a starter, and his confidence has been noticed by his teammates. “I’m always going back and forth a lot. He likes to talk, and I love it,” linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. “He’s a young guy coming in showing how confident he is. I love that. We can build off of that. We need more guys with belief in their skill set and bringing that attitude to the entire team. That’s going to take us a long way.”

Darren Sproles Eyeing Eagles, Saints, Chargers?

It was about two months ago that free agent running back Darren Sproles said he’d make a decision regarding his NFL future by May. Well, it sounds like the 35-year-old may need a bit more time making a decision.

During an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Sproles would be willing to wait for the right offer, even if it comes during the latter part of the summer (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). Furthermore, Schefter hinted that the running back would prefer to play for one of his former teams. Specifically, that’d mean the Eagles, Saints, or Chargers are atop Sproles’ list. Of course, Schefter also notes that the running back would be open to other opportunities.

After a broken arm and a torn ACL limited him to only three games during the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning 2017 campaign, Sproles said the 2018 season would be his final year in the NFL. However, Sproles ended up being hampered by injuries once again, limiting him to only six regular season games. He was still relatively productive when he was on the field; he paired 120 rushing yards (and a rushing touchdown) with 15 receptions for 160 yards and two scores.

Of course, Sproles continues to get older; if he plays in 2019, he’d be the second-oldest player at his position (behind Frank Gore). While any team would take a chance on a savvy veteran who possesses some pass-catching prowess, it’s uncertain if any of Sproles’ former teams would have interest.

The Eagles have a crowded depth chart that features Jordan HowardCorey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood. The Saints brought in Latavius Murray to serve as Alvin Kamara‘s backup, but the team lacks experience behind that duo. The Chargers’ trio of Melvin GordonAustin Ekeler, and Justin Jackson seem to have a solid hold on the top-three spots, but Sproles could theoretically play a return role alongside Desmond King in Los Angeles.

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Darren Sproles To Make Retirement Decision In May

Free agent running back Darren Sproles will make a decision as to whether he is going to retire or continue playing in 2019 sometime in May, as David Weinberg of the Press of Atlantic City reports. If Sproles does return, it sounds as if he could suit up once again for the Eagles, as the diminutive back indicated he has been in discussions with the club about coming back for one more season.

The Eagles just traded for former Bears RB Jordan Howard in an effort to bolster their RB depth chart, but presumably the team could still find a spot for Sproles as a third-down back and return man. Of course, the Eagles are also rostering Corey ClementWendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams, and the club could also elect to use a high draft choice on a running back, so perhaps Sproles is waiting to see what Philadelphia’s roster looks like after the draft before making his final decision.

Sproles originally hinted that 2017 would be his final NFL campaign, but backtracked on that sentiment even before multiple injuries ended his season early that year. Sproles not only suffered a torn ACL, but a broken arm during the first month of the 2017 season, which concluded with Sproles having played in just three games.

After inking a one-year deal that contained $1MM in guarantees for 2018, Sproles muddled through another injury-riddled campaign. A hamstring injury limited him to just six appearances last year, but he played well when he was on the field. Additionally, the Eagles won four of five games and snuck into the playoffs after Sproles returned, which could motivate the 35-year-old to return for a 15th NFL campaign.

In the 2018 regular season, Sproles rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries while adding 15 receptions for 160 yards and two scores in the passing game. Among backs with fewer than 25 catches, Sproles was the league’s 10th-most effective receiver in DYAR, Football Outsiders’ receiving metric. He was not as successful in the playoffs, though, as he put up just 25 yards on 16 carries and 35 yards on five catches in Philadelphia’s two postseason contests.

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