Eagles rusher Sproles to retire after 15-year career

Philadelphia running back and kick returner Darren Sproles, injured for most of this NFL season, announced Saturday he will retire after the campaign (AFP Photo/Stacy Revere)
Philadelphia running back and kick returner Darren Sproles, injured for most of this NFL season, announced Saturday he will retire after the campaign (AFP Photo/Stacy Revere)

New York (AFP) - Philadelphia Eagles running back and kick returner Darren Sproles, ranked fifth all-time in NFL all-purpose yardage, said Saturday he will retire after this season to close a 15-year career.

Sproles is sidelined for the remainder of the current campaign due to a torn right hip flexor muscle, prompting him to announce his plans before the Eagles' regular-season home finale Sunday against Dallas.

"I owe so much to the game of football and I gave it all I had in return," Sproles said.

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"I gave it everything I had on every play. I rode it until the wheels fell off.

"Now my body is telling me it's time to step away from the game. It's time to call it a career."

Sproles, who stands only 5-foot-6 (1.68m), set an NFL record for all-purpose yardage in 2011 with 2,696 yards, including 603 rushing yards and 710 reception yards with a combined nine touchdowns.

His 19,696 total career combined yards rank fifth on the NFL's all-time list. They include 11,313 return yards and 4,840 receiving yards with 64 career touchdowns.

Sproles, 36, had 66 yards on 17 carries for the Eagles this season before his injury. He had previously played for the then-San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints.

Despite being injured for the final 13 games of the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl-winning campaign, Sproles received a championship ring. He made 12 playoff appearance in six post-season trips.

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