One of the NFL's most-productive running backs of the 21st century has announced that the 2018 season will be his final one in the league.
Darren Sproles, 35, announced with a lengthy note this afternoon that he will be retiring from the NFL after the following season.
"Writing my ending on my own terms..." he tweeted.
Sproles wrote that the 2017 season was supposed to be his last one, but he's adjusted his plans. He wants to help the Eagles with another Super Bowl and he has his eyes set on finishing in the top-five of the NFL's all-purpose yardage list.
Here's his full note:
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.
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.
Coming back from any injury is tough—especially a knee injury for a running back. I wondered if I was going to come back the same, if I would still have my quickness. That’s the main thing because I don’t want to go out there and start getting smacked. Once I started rehabbing and running again I could tell I was good and ready for one more healthy year.
At my size, people often ask me how I’ve managed a decade plus long career in this league and I tell them the secret is simple— don’t get hit. Football is a collision sport so getting my agility back was key to my decision to play one more year.
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.
I also noticed I am currently 8th on the career all-purpose yards list. Now, I doubt I’ll be able to catch #1 on the list, Jerry Rice, but with a couple good runs or a nice return, I should be able to climb past Steve Smith (7th) and Marshall Faulk (6th). It will probably take until about mid-season (maybe a little longer) but I got my eyes set on Tim Brown at #5. The only other players on the list after that are #4 Emmitt Smith, #3 Walter Payton and #2 Brian Mitchell.
But I don’t do it for the records. Yeah, it would be an honor to be mentioned in the same conversation as those guys—but that’s not what’s important. I love this game. I love what I do. When my daughter Devyn looked me in the eye and told me I have to play one more year—well, that was it.
One more year.
Sproles and the Eagles open the 2018 season on Sept. 6 against Atlanta.