Darren Sproles lost a bet and he lost it in a hurry.
The 36-year-old running back returned to the NovaCare Complex for his 15th NFL season this week because his 10-year-old daughter Devyn is just too fast.
See, Devyn is a sprinter and the two made a bet. If she made it to the Junior Olympics this summer, her father would return to the NFL for another season. It was also Devyn, you might remember, who convinced her dad to return in 2018 too.
This time, she let her legs do the talking. In June, Devyn ran a personal record 13.81 in the 100-meter dash at a qualifying event to punch her ticket to the 2019 Junior Olympic Games in North Carolina next week. She also sent her dad off to training camp.
Right after that race, she was like, ‘Daddy, you gotta go back and play again.’ That was the bet.
Sproles is appreciative of the support from his family. In late June, he sat down with his wife Michel and their children for a meeting. His family told him if he still loved the game, to go ahead and play another season. He agreed to terms with the Eagles a week ago.
Why is he back?
“Because I want that Super Bowl.”
“That’s it. That’s what I want.”
Does he think he’ll get it?
“We’ve got a chance to get it. If we keep working, we’ve got a chance.”
Sproles was on the team that won Super Bowl LII, but he was hurt. Aside from his climb up the NFL's all-time all-purpose yards list (he’s in position to move into fifth this season), the quest to play in a Super Bowl is driving him.
The Eagles weren’t the only team that called this summer — he said there were four — but Philadelphia is where Sproles wanted to be as he finishes out his career. This will be Sproles’ sixth season in Philadelphia since coming in 2014.
“Once you’ve been here, you don’t want to go nowhere else,” he said.
Sproles initially planned to retire after the 2017 season, but in the third game of the season, he landed in a heap with a torn ACL and a broken forearm. He wasn’t going out like that.
Then 2018 was going to be his final season. But a nasty and nagging hamstring injury limited him to just six regular-season games. He returned late in the year to give the Birds a spark, but he still wasn’t going out like that either.
This offseason, while in San Diego, Sproles was working out in May, but didn’t ramp up his workouts until June. He began doing more on the field. Then the Eagles started calling a bit more. Then he made a bet.
And he was back in the NFL in a flash.
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