When the Eagles traded for Darren Sproles last week, they acquired a very versatile and unique threat to help supplement an already potent offense. Saints QB Drew Brees, one of the best players in the game, is not thrilled with that development, and he had immense praise for the newest offensive weapon for the Eagles.
"I think a Darren Sproles only comes around once in your lifetime, in my career and in everybody's career," Brees told FOX Sports and USA Today Sports at the NFL Players Association player rep meetings. "There may be another one 15, 20 years from now. But there's not many guys like Darren Sproles. He's a special player, he's a special person, he's a special teammate. I'm lucky to have had the chance to play with him on two teams -- '05 in San Diego when we drafted him in the (fourth) round and three years in New Orleans."
As a member of the NFLPA's executive committee and a high-profile player who had a public contract squabble two years ago, Brees understands the business. But that didn't make the Saints' trading away Sproles any easier for him.
"That was one of the tougher ones for me," Brees said, adding: "I feel like that was my guy, that was my pick and I wanted that to last forever. But unfortunately, it didn't last forever."
Sproles will be used in a variety of ways in the Eagles offense. In addition to handling kick return duties, Sproles is likely to line up in the slot, out wide, in the backfield, and anywhere else the Eagles can create mismatches for opposing defenses. Last weekend at the Maxwell Football Club's event in Atlantic City, Chip Kelly noted that while the staff has yet to discuss how Sproles would be deployed, he said Sproles was difficult to prepare for in the playoffs last season.
While it seems most fans are on board with the Eagles trading a 5th round pick for Sproles, there has still been some debate as to whether dealing a pick for a player Sproles' age (31 in June) was wise. It should certainly be encouraging to hear a player of Brees' stature rave about Sproles the way he did.