When the Philadelphia Eagles open up the regular season on September 6 against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field, it will be the final home opener for one Eagles player.
Eagles running back Darren Sproles announced on his blog that he will be retiring from the NFL after the 2018 season. The veteran running back explained in the post that last season was supposed to be his final year of playing football, but injuries derailed that plan.
"The plan was for 2017 to be my last season. 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," he said.
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"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."
Sproles' 2017 season came to an end in Week 3 against the New York Giants as he suffered a torn ACL and a broken arm. It was a brutal injury for the then 34-year-old running back and a big loss to the Eagles.
Luckily, Philadelphia was able to lessen the blow, thanks to the midseason acquisition of Jay Ajayi and the play of undrafted free agent Corey Clement.
How much will the Eagles be paying Sproles next season?
Nevertheless, Sproles is a huge weapon in both the Eagles' offense and special teams. In four seasons with Philadelphia, Sproles has 1,145 rushing yards, 1,275 receiving yards, and 14 total touchdowns.
He also has a punt return average of 12.5 yards per game and four touchdowns.
Immediately after the NFL Draft, the Eagles re-signed Sproles to a one-year deal with a total guaranteed for $1 million. Even though the Eagles' backfield is currently crowded, the veteran running back already has his spot etched out.
Sproles explained how he is excited to come back and play one more season in front of Eagles fans.
"I’m excited to come back and I am even more excited to come back to the defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles. We have something special here with the team, the fans, and the city. We made history bringing the first Lombardi trophy to Philly and now we want to go back-to-back."
However, the ultimate deciding factor for Sproles to come back was his family. He said that his daughter looked him in the eyes and told him that he had to play one more year.
It should be a fun 2018 season watching No. 43 make explosive plays in the Eagles quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions.