Darren Sproles

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles RB Darren Sproles Could Play In 2019?

Although he had previously declared his intention to retire following the 2018 campaign, Eagles running back Darren Sproles has indicated to teammates and coaches that he’ll “seriously” consider extending his career by at least one more season, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

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 this season, but he’s played well when 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 season.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition [in 2019],” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said last month. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

On the season, Sproles has 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Eagles, Sproles, Dolphins, Redskins

The Eagles will have plenty of roster decisions to make heading into the 2019 season. Two of the names at the top of the list include veteran running Darren Sproles and oft-injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com writes.

After originally declaring this as his final season, Sproles has looked like a vintage version of himself, leading many to wonder if he would come back for his 15th NFL season. One person who would love to have the pass-catching back return is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019, Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

He didn’t offer the same ringing endorsement for Hicks. Despite being a noted playmaker who ranks third on the team in tackles in 2018, the Texas Longhorns product has missed 21 games in his first four seasons, including four this season.

“I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said. “Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, thanks once again to Nick Foles, the team is currently in the fight for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Should they make it, there will undoubtedly be a contingent of fans hoping Philly will bring back the veteran in 2019. However, that is unlikely to happen, writes Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt. With Foles on the books for $20MM next year, it is much more likely the Eagles do not exercise his option and make him a free agent. If he goes on another magical run in January, however, every option has to be on the table.
  • Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is not expected back with the team in 2019, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. The move would end his four-year run with the team. Head coach Adam Gase is expected to be retained. Salguero also has heard a few of the names as possible replacements include Dan Marino and Dawn Aponte.
  • Following the release of D.J. Swearinger, one of the Redskins’ top needs this season has quickly become safety, Ben Standig of NBC Sports writes. Coupled with the potential departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins would be down both of their safeties heading into 2019. Should they address the issue in the draft, the team could target Alabama’s Deionte Thompson or Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, two of the top-ranked prospects at free and strong safety, respectively.

Eagles RB Darren Sproles Suffers Setback, Will Miss Multiple Weeks

Sunday, 8:55am: Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Sproles is expected to miss multiple weeks (one estimate suggested an absence of three to four weeks). The Eagles will be cautious with him so that when he returns to the field, he will be back for good. The way Sproles’ injury was handled by the team’s medical staff may be cause for concern, as we detailed yesterday.

Thursday, 11:39am: Earlier this week, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he expected Darren Sproles to play on Sunday versus the Cowboys. Unfortunately, those plans were derailed after the running back aggravated his hamstring injury (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

Sproles has not been on the field since hurting his hamstring in practice prior to the Eagles’ Week 2 game. Sproles showed significant improvement this week and the team believed that Sproles would be able to resume punt-return duties against the Cowboys. Instead of facing Dallas and joining Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement in the backfield rotation, Sproles’ outlook for the rest of the season is now in question.

Sproles’ 2017 was shortened by multiple injuries in September, meaning that he has played in just three games over the last two years. He already cashed in on a $1MM guarantee for this year, but Sproles is eager to resume the form that earned him three straight Pro Bowl nods between 2014-2016.

On the plus side, Eagles tackle Lane Johnson resumed practice this week after recovering from a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Pederson is hopeful that Johnson will play, but that would mark a faster-than-usual turnaround from the injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Falcons, Giants, Eagles, Bucs

The 1-4 Falcons could face the Buccaneers without running back Devonta Freeman, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Freeman, who missed three games with an MCL sprain, is actually dealing with a new injury, as Rapoport indicates it’s a bone bruise that’s threatening to keep Freeman out of Sunday’s action. While Freeman didn’t practice today, he did work on the side, although his status for Week 6 is “in doubt, per Rapoport. Without Freeman, Atlanta would deploy a Tevin Coleman/Ito Smith combination that was used in Weeks 2-5.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of injury news, the Giants have already ruled out tight end Evan Engram for Thursday night’s game against the Eagles, meaning Rhett Ellison, who has shouldered the load since Week 3, will take over at tight end once again. Edge rusher Oliver Vernon, who’s missed the entire season to this point with an ankle issue, will make his 2018 debut. On the other side of the field, the Eagles have listed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Corey Graham, and running back Darren Sproles as out. The latter two are especially concerning, as Philadelphia recent placed defensive back Rodney McLeod and running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserve.
  • Although Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said he’d make changes following a loss to the Jets on Sunday, defensive coordinator Joe Woods will not be relieved of his play-calling duties, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Denver gave up 512 yards of offense against New York, including a whopping 334 on the ground. Joseph, a former defensive coordinator himself, could potentially take over play-calling, but that’s not a move that will happen this week. Joseph also indicated that cornerback Bradley Roby, who was burned by Jets receiver Robby Anderson in Week 5, is still a starter “for now.” Adam Jones, who’s played on roughly a third of the Broncos’ defensive snaps thus far, could see more snaps if Roby is benched.
  • Under the terms of his five-year extension with the Buccaneers, guard Ali Marpet will earn $12.365MM through one year, $23.25MM through two years, and $33.5MM through three years, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Among left guards, Marpet’s $11MM annual average now ranks third, behind only Andrew Norwell and Kelechi Osemele, while his $27.125MM in guarantees ranks second. Marpet, who has started 44 games during his time in the NFL, has displayed exceptional versatility, as he’s played both guard spots and center in his career.
  • Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson pleaded guilty to simple possession and failure to exercise due care while driving but subsequently had a DUI charge against him dismissed, per a report from the Associated Press. Johnson’s original arrest occurred in the summer of 2017, more than a year before Denver gave him $50K in guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent. A Tennessee product, Johnson hadn’t played football in more than four years before landing with the Broncos, in part due to a rape charge of which he was later acquitted. He’s been inactive for every game in 2018.

Injury Notes: Titans, Mariota, Falcons, McKinley, Colts, Doyle, Eagles, Ajayi

Marcus Mariota‘s injury remains a mystery. It hasn’t been disclosed exactly what he’s dealing with although it has reportedly caused him to lose some feeling in his hand. Blaine Gabbert started, and won, for the Titans last week, and it’s possible he’s asked to do so again this week against the Jaguars.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that he would make the decision between Gabbert and Mariota within the next “24 hours” and that he would let them know then according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans’ official website (Twitter link). If Mariota can’t go it would be a huge blow for Tennessee against the league’s top defense. One thing that could make their matchup a bit easier is that Jalen Ramsey was added to the injury report Friday with an ankle injury, although it’s unclear if he’s in any danger of missing the game.

Here’s more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Falcons just can’t seem to catch a break. It was already known they’d be without Devonta Freeman and several other starters, but it was announced today that they’d also be without talented pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley. McKinley is currently dealing with a groin injury.
  • The Colts will be quite shorthanded for their trip to Philadelphia as the team ruled out tight end Jack Doyle, running back Marlon Mack, defensive tackle Denico Autry, and right tackle Anthony Castonzo. Doyle’s injury is a big blow, as he formed an effective tight end duo with Eric Ebron through the first two games.
  • The Eagles will also be significantly shorthanded on offense, with their backfield being particularly banged up. Running backs Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles have been ruled out, while Corey Clement is questionable. If Clement isn’t able to go, the running back situation would be dire. Alshon Jeffery is questionable, but reporters have written that he’s very unlikely to play.

NFC Injury Notes: Rodgers, Falcons, Eagles

Aaron Rodgers will enter Sunday with a questionable designation on the Packers‘ injury report. The two-time MVP can improve his chances of playing, obviously, by practicing Saturday — when the Packers do more than the typical walkthrough — but not doing so won’t prevent him from playing. Mike McCarthy said he’d have no issues deploying Rodgers even if he doesn’t practice all week, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. The 13th-year Green Bay coach said his quarterback feels better than he did at the beginning of the week. Despite Rodgers’ performance on Sunday against the Bears and his history of playing through left knee pain, he’s not a lock to face the Vikings.

Here’s the latest from the NFC’s injury situations.

  • Another key Falcons cog won’t be available Sunday. After the losses of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, Atlanta won’t have the services of starting running back Devonta Freeman. He’s been declared out due to the knee injury he suffered against the Eagles. Tevin Coleman will start. The Falcons have rookie Ito Smith and recently signed Brian Hill in place as backups.
  • Once again, the Giants won’t have their top pass rusher available. While the Giants are hoping to have Olivier Vernon in Week 3, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter), his high ankle sprain will keep him out against the Cowboys.
  • Trai Turner‘s stay in Panthers concussion protocol will result in him missing this week’s game against the Falcons. He’s been declared out, putting Carolina down three starting offensive linemen — Turner and tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams, both of whom residing on IR — going into its NFC South opener.
  • The already-banged-up Eagles didn’t come out of Week 1 unscathed. Darren Sproles will miss Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. The 34-year-old passing-down back sustained a hamstring injury against the Falcons. He’ll join Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery among Philadelphia’s high-profile Week 2 absences.
  • Already without IR-stationed cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, the Bucs won’t have Brent Grimes available to cover Eagle wideouts, either. Tampa Bay used two second-round picks on corners, Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart, and could see an extended glimpse of the rookies’ development to this point in their careers.
  • The Lions49ers game will see the visitors without top guard T.J. Lang and the hosts missing deep threat Marquise Goodwin. Both players have been declared out. Kyle Shanahan said (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, on Twitter) Dante Pettis will start in place of Goodwin.

Darren Sproles To Retire After 2018 Season

Eagles running back Darren Sproles will retire from the NFL after the 2018 season, as the veteran explained in a post today.

“The plan was for 2017 to be my last season,” writes Sproles. “I was 34, had a great career, accomplished a lot—it was time. No one ever expected my career to last this long, over a decade but I was proud to prove them all wrong. Then my season ended a little earlier than expected, to an injury.

An injury is different; It’s something you don’t have any control over but I feel like I left a lot out there, and I couldn’t let my career end like that.”

As Sproles alludes to, he’d originally hinted that 2017 would be his final NFL campaign, but backtracked on that sentiment even before multiple injuries ended his season in September. 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 deciding to return for 2018, Sproles inked a one-year deal with the Eagles that contains $1MM in guarantees. Now 35 years old, Sproles will be part of a Philadelphia backfield that also includes Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Matt Jones, Wendell Smallwood, and Donnel Pumphrey. Sproles should be guaranteed a roster spot, and will likely handle passing game work in the Eagles’ offense.

Maintaining value based on his receiving skills is nothing new for Sproles, who has never topped 100 carries in a season during his lengthy pro tenure. Sproles spent the early portion of his career as LaDainian Tomlinson‘s backup with the Chargers, but emerged to even greater prominence as a backfield weapon for Drew Brees and the Saints. He was shipped to the Eagles in 2015 in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.