NFL

Darren Sproles announces retirement: I rode it until the wheels fell off

By Sports Desk December 21, 2019

Darren Sproles has announced he will retire at the end of the 2019 season.

The veteran Philadelphia Eagles running back signed up for one more campaign at Lincoln Financial Field in July, having initially stated his intention to end his career following the 2018 campaign.

Yet Sproles, who has also played for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints prior to his six seasons in Philadelphia, will now call it a day, having moved up to fifth in the NFL's all-time list for all-purpose yards gained.

"I owe so much to the game of football and I gave it all I had in return," said Sproles in a lengthy message to fans posted on the Eagles' official website.

"I gave it everything I had on every play. I rode it until the wheels fell off. That's the way I played and that's the way I practiced.

"When I re-signed with the Eagles back in July, I knew it was going to be my last season, and now my body is telling me it's time to step away from the game. It's time to call it a career.

"So when the season comes to an end, I'm going to officially retire from the National Football League. But I wanted to announce it today [Saturday] so that we can appreciate the moment together on Sunday [when the Eagles face the Dallas Cowboys]."

Sproles sustained a torn hip flexor last month, ending his hopes of featuring again for the Eagles.

"Spending the past month on injured reserve has been hard," he added. "I want to be out there with my guys. But I've had the chance to spend a lot of time with my family and I'm at peace with this decision.

"My kids are kind of sad that my career is coming to an end because they told me that they love to see me play. They inspired me. They kept me going.

"I'm proud that they were able to see me play at a high level because I wanted to show my kids that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, as long as you are willing to work hard for it. There's no quit, especially when times get tough and rocky."

Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith are the only players to have more yards than Sproles, who amassed 19,696 after being selected by the Chargers in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft. 

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