Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will retire after the season, ending his 15-year career in the NFL.
Sproles, who is out for the remainder of this season with torn right hip flexor muscle, announced his decision Saturday, saying in a statement that “I gave it everything I had on every play.”
“I owe so much to the game of football and I gave it all I had in return,” Sproles said in the statement, which was posted on the Eagles’ 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 so that we can appreciate the moment together on Sunday.”
The Eagles (7-7) play their final home game of the regular season Sunday when they host the Cowboys (7-7) in a matchup that could determine the NFC East title. Sproles will be one of the Eagles’ captains for the game, and the team has planned a tribute for him.
A fourth-round draft selection in 2005, the 5-foot-6 Sproles is No. 5 on the NFL’s all-time list for all-purpose yards (19,696). His best season came with the Saints in 2011, when he rushed for 603 yards, hauled in 86 receptions for 710 yards and scored 10 touchdowns — all career bests.
Sproles was the 15th running back drafted in 2005 — the 130th overall pick. His only goal was to prove his critics wrong by lasting more than one year in the NFL. Instead, he became one of the most prolific players in league history thanks in large part to a legendary work ethic that has garnered him universal respect across the league.
“Every time I think about Darren, it’s really one thing that constantly pops into my head,” Eagles teammate Malcolm Jenkins said in October. “He makes you reconsider if you want to be great.”
ESPN’s Tim McManus contributed to this report.