Darren Sproles returns to practice, resumes ‘extensive' role


Fletcher Cox was an extremely limited participant in Tuesday’s minicamp practice after returning to the facility this week.
Darren Sproles looked like he’s been here all spring.
Of course, he hasn’t. The shifty running back opted to skip all voluntary workouts this offseason, but on Tuesday he returned punts, participated in position drills and even got plenty of work during the team portion of the lengthy practice at the NovaCare Complex.
Sproles might have technically been limited in the first mandatory practice of the offseason, as Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he would be, but he still did a lot. And a lot more than Cox.
Pederson seemed excited to have one of his most versatile weapons back in the building.
“Well on special teams, we know what he can do and he's the primary guy, the return guy there, and offensively he becomes a big part of what we do,” Pederson said. “If you go back and just look at what we did in Kansas City with our running backs with Jamaal [Charles] before he got hurt and then with the two guys after the injury (Chiefs RBs Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West), we like to move our running backs around, and [Sproles is] a guy that creates matchups on defense, or against the defense, and we're going to move him around; we are not necessarily going to keep him in the backfield.
“His role will be extensive, both offensively and also on special teams, and I'm excited to kind of get to see what he can do this week a little bit.”
Like Cox, Sproles didn’t show in the locker room until the last minute before reporters were told to leave, so he didn’t comment on his absence or why he came back now (see story). On Monday, Sproles told The Philadelphia Inquirer he missed the voluntary portion because of “family stuff.”
Sproles, who turns 33 on June 20, is entering his 11th NFL season. But on Tuesday, the 5-foot-6 back didn’t look like he’s lost a step. Last season, he had 83 rushing attempts and 55 receptions. He was one of just three Pro Bowlers on the team, along with Cox and safety Malcolm Jenkins.
When asked, Pederson said Sproles and Cox are “on board” with everything the team is doing.
“They are. They are so excited to be here,” Pederson said, “to be around their teammates, the players, the guys and the coaches. You know, for both of them, they are learning a new system, so it behooves them to really pay attention in the meetings and the walk-throughs. But yeah, both of them are excited and ready to go.”

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