Eagles running back Darren Sproles, who was already out for the season due to a torn right hip flexor muscle, announced his long-postponed retirement on Saturday.
Sproles orginally planned for 2017 to be his final season, but he went on IR after playing just three games. So he tried again last season, only to miss most of the year with a hamstring problem. But he returned late in the season and helped the Eagles make the playoffs. Sproles’ performance was good enough to convince him and the Eagles to give it one more try.
Sproles, 36, announced he was hanging up his cleats in a letter he wrote on the Eagles website. Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys will be his final regular-season home game at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It’s hard to put in words the emotion I will feel when I walk out of the tunnel one last time for a regular-season game at Lincoln Financial Field,” Sproles wrote. “One last time with my teammates and coaches, and one last time in front of the fans. Trust me, I believe in this group and I know that we still have a nice run left in us this year. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. But as I stand down there on Sunday, I will definitely be thinking about all of the special memories I have made over the last 15 years, and especially the last six here in Philadelphia.”
Sproles played 14 NFL seasons and missed another with a broken ankle. The Eagles acquired him in March 2014 from New Orleans for a fifth-round draft pick. With the Eagles, he earned three Pro Bowl berths as a return man in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
His 19,696 all-purpose yards are fifth-most in NFL history. Sproles is the only player in NFL history with 30 or more receiving touchdowns (32), 20 or more rushing TDs (23), one or more kickoff return touchdowns (2), and one or more punt-return touchdowns (7).