Tha Sports Junkies 101

Darren Sproles Extended Through The 2017 Season

Paul Benn via Flickr



The Philadelphia Eagles have signed running back Darren Sproles to a contract extension. The deal is reportedly for $4.5 million. The 11-year vet out of Kansas State, missed a good portion of the Eagles off-season program, and was rumored to be traded.

He returns to the Eagles for his third season with the team. Last season, Sproles earned his second Pro Bowl nod as an Eagle, making the team as a return specialist. He led the NFL in punt return yards, punt return average and finished with two punt return touchdowns.

Although Darren Sproles lacks size, he makes up for it with his explosive play making ability. For years, Sproles has been a “jack of all trades”. He is the only player in NFL history with 20 or more receiving touchdowns (28), 20 or more rushing touchdowns, (20) and five or more receiving touchdowns. (seven)

Sproles offers head coach Doug Pederson, the flexibility to line him up all over the field. In three seasons with the Saints, he averaged 77 receptions and 660 yards. Sproles also added 16 receiving touchdowns. Darren Sproles is a guy that’s carved out a niche for himself in the NFL.

This season, he figures to be apart of running back rotation that features himself, Ryan MatthewsKenjon Barner, and fifth-round pick Wendell Smallwood. The Demarco Murray experiment truly exemplified the mantra “[N]ot [F]or [L]ong. Now, the Eagles find themselves in a precarious situation at running back.

When healthy, Ryan Matthews is more than capable of getting the job done. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and added six touchdowns last season. However, Matthews has had a myriad of injuries, dating back to his days at Fresno State. As the assumed no.1 back, the Eagles desperately need to Ryan Matthews to stay healthy.

Wendell Smallwood should expect to play sooner than later. Darren Sproles is 33, and Ryan Matthews has consistently shown the inability to stay healthy. At West Virginia, Smallwood led the Big 12 in rushing last season with 1,519 yards. Although he’s listed at 5’10 208, Smallwood runs with a unique balance of power and vision.

He’s also a favorite of Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley. Staley played six seasons for the Eagles. As a 235 pound back, Staley was one of the game’s most powerful runners.

Duce, he doesn’t like small backs. He doesn’t. I don’t think he believes in those guys. He was a big boy. Running dudes over left and right. That’s what he wants.” Smallwood, stated after practice this past week. “It’s definitely important to me and it’s definitely what Duce wants me to do,” Smallwood said. “He wants me to hit the holes and hit ‘em hard and that’s the reason he got me here.