Darren Sproles decides to hold off on retirement, signs one-year deal with Eagles

After taking nearly the entire offseason to think things over, Darren Sproles has decided that he's not ready to retire just yet. The Eagles have announced that the running back will be returning this season after agreeing to terms on a one-year deal. 

"My heart is in Philly. That's where I want to end my career," Sproles said, via the Eagles' website. "That team, the city is like a family."

Before Friday's announcement, it was unclear what Sproles was going to do and that's because the running back's original plan was to retire following the 2018 season. However, Sproles clearly had a change of heart after an injury-riddled year where he only played in six games. 

The running back's 2018 season was derailed by a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the first seven games of the year. Although he eventually returned, Sproles aggravated the injury in November, which caused him to miss three more games. By the time late December rolled around, it was becoming pretty clear that Sproles was rethinking his retirement decision. 

"I'm taking everything one game at a time," Sproles said just before Week 17 last season. "I'm not saying anything other than that. I'm not really thinking about [retirement] right now."

Sproles was also thinking about retiring after the 2017 season, but like last year, injuries derailed that plan. During a Week 3 game in 2017, Sproles broke his wrist and tore his ACL on the same play, which caused him to miss the final 13 games of that season. 

Although Sproles took several months to mull over retirement this offseason, all signs pointed to him making a comeback. For one, he kept working out at a high level. 

Sproles also spent some time this offseason catch passes from one of his former quarterbacks, Drew Brees. Sproles has played for the Chargers (2005-10), Saints (2011-13) and Eagles (2014-present) during his 15-year career. 

One reason Sproles likely made the decision to return is because he's so close to making NFL history. Heading into the 2019 season, Sproles has racked up 19,520 career all-purpose yards, which is the sixth highest total in NFL history. To move into the top five, Sproles just needs to tally 163 all-purpose yards in 2019, which would move him ahead of Hall of Famer Tim Brown. Sproles is 2,044 yards behind the No. 4 ranked player (Emmitt Smith), which means he might just have to settle for No. 5. 

With a crowded backfield in Philly that includes Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood, Sproles might not see much action, wouldn't be a huge surprise considering that he's now 36 years old. What the Eagles will get in Sproles is a role player who also has the ability to help in the return game. The running back is also a well-seasoned veteran who should be a strong leader in a running back room that will feature a lot of young players. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories