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December 21, 2019

Eagles' Darren Sproles to retire from NFL after 15-year career

The ever-dangerous running back finishes with 1,285 offensive touches, most of which were electric

Eagles NFL
69_11032019_EaglesvsBears_Darren_Sproles_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Turns out, Darren Sproles will be returning to the Eagles after all — just not as a player.

Darren Sproles has played his last NFL game, as the injured running back will retire from football at the end of the season, the Eagles announced on Saturday via the team's website and on social media.

The Eagles' official Twitter account shared a pair of videos dedicated to Sproles' time in Philadelphia, and his one-of-a-kind career:

Sproles, 36, also penned a letter to fans titled "Eagles fans, I gave you all I had," in which he explains his decision to step away from football after three injury-plagued seasons. Sproles said he's "at peace" with his decision to retire, even though it's "been hard" to spend a month on Injured Reserve, both for him and his family.

Sproles spends an early paragraph thanking Eagles fans in particular for their support over his six seasons in Philadelphia:

"To Eagles fans everywhere, I want to thank you for the way you supported me every single day. I could feel it. You made my time here special. I remember when I was first traded to the Eagles. It was a shock because it came out of the blue, but it turned into a blessing. I get chills thinking about all of the amazing memories from my time here. Playing at our stadium is like playing in front of your family."

The whole thing is very much worth a read.

It's an unfortunate way for such a unique football player to go out: Sproles played just 15 games since the start of the 2017 season, bogged down time and time again by injuries.

It seemed retirement was likely, when Sproles posted what seemed to be a final statement to Instagram after he was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-November.

Still, Sproles had a tremendous, memorable, fascinating career in football. At 5-foot-6, Sproles ranks fifth all-time in all-purpose yards. He was a threat in the run game, the pass game, and the punt return game for more than a decade. He was also one of the hardest-working players in any given locker room.

MORE SPROLES: Darren Sproles is 5-6 and he stutters – and that may be why he’s so great | How a bet with his daughter led Sproles to return to Eagles | Sproles youth football highlight video, but with Merrill Reese (and other) audio

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