Darren Sproles is having a big impact on Eagles Training Camp

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Darren Sproles (43) muffs a punt in the second half during the game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles on November 03, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

In an offseason where everything we know has been flipped upside down, any sense of familiarity and stability is an immediate bonus for any NFL team. The Philadelphia Eagles may have an extremely young running back group, but the ace up their sleeve comes in the way of Darren Sproles.

The end of an era for Sproles

The running back re-signed with the Eagles in 2019 for one last rodeo in the hopes of being on the field for a Philly Super Bowl run. However, injuries continued to catch up to ‘the little engine that could’, who suffered a partially torn right hip flexor in week 5. The injury would further aggravate one of the best dual-threat backs to ever carry the pigskin, ripping his final campaign away from him. He hung up his boots and left a huge hole in the hearts of fans everywhere. Sproles ends his career with 3,552 rushing yards and 4,840 receiving yards to go with 55 total touchdowns.

The former New Orleans Saint left behind a legacy that many will dream of leaving and very few will be able to. Even in just his six years with the Eagles, #43 transcended coaching changes, adversities, and the dawn of the Carson Wentz era, carrying a wobbly backfield on his back at the best of times. Now, he’s helping ensure that the band of brothers he’s leaving behind can push on down that same path.

The dawn of a new one

Hired as a personnel consultant by the Eagles this offseason, Sproles was keen to stay in Philadelphia and go from a 3-time Pro Bowler, to somebody helping shape the careers of others who hope to achieve such accolades. It hasn’t taken him long to make an impact, either.

“Well, he is coaching, so he is doing that.” Duce Staley laughed during a press conference on Wednesday. “I joke with him all the time. It’s a big help when the younger guys see him in the room. Of course, [RB] Corey [Clement] and [RB] Miles [Sanders] and [RB] Boston [Scott], they were able to suit up with him and go to war with him. Now seeing him on the other side and being able to come back and coach says a couple things. It says he cares about them, cares about their development. Also, him being out there taking the time away from his family shows how dedicated he is into helping them.”

The Eagles didn’t opt to replace Jordan Howard this offseason, meaning that the depth behind Miles Sanders is incredibly thin. Corey Clement, who was an undrafted free agent in 2017, is the team’s most experienced running back at this point. He’s 25-years-old.

Having Sproles, a man who has worked with all three of the team’s starting running backs (Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, and Boston Scott, is huge. All three possess the dual-threat ability that made Sproles so lethal and while it’s Scott who is the closest to a clone of the 15-year veteran, all of the running backs can learn a thing or two from such an esteemed talent.

Thinking outside the box

It’s not just the running backs, either. Sproles holds the team’s franchise record for most career punt return touchdowns (4) and is working with the returners. This in itself is huge. We all remember Clement’s muffed moments in 2019 and it’s not like the Birds have found a long-term option at the return spot.

“He’s helping the punt returners, also.” Staley explained. “Some of the things when it comes to no matter if it’s a high ball, a short ball, long balls, stuff like that, how to read the punters walk-down, just stuff that’s valuable information, man, valuable information, that comes from a vet like him. They are embracing it. They are loving it and they are enjoying it.”

Whether it’s helping along the next generation of running back, or giving tips to Jalen Reagor on punt returns, having Sproles around the building is a huge positive for an Eagles team looking to take their offense to the next level in 2020.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire