The Eagles signed running back/returner Darren Sproles to a one-year contract on Saturday, Eagles executive Howie Roseman announced after the NFL draft.
“Wanted to come back and finish my career with my brothers and the Philly fans!” Sproles said in a text message to The Inquirer.
The 34-year-old Sproles was a free agent. He suffered a season-ending knee injury last September and hadn’t;t committed fully to returning to football as of last month. But Eagles coach Doug Pederson said last month at the NFL owners meetings that he wanted Sproles back.
“We’d been talking to Darren before the draft,” Roseman said. “It’s been a priority to get Darren back. I think I got the message when coach would come by my office maybe once a day, twice a day, and say, ‘What’s going on with Darren? When are we getting Sproles back?'”
Sproles should help address a few needs for the Eagles. The Eagles lost LeGarrette Blount in free agency and didn’t sign any free agents or draft any running backs. They also don’t have an obvious punt returner on the roster. While rookie Corey Clement stepped into Sproles’ third-down role last season and thrived, adding a veteran presence to the running back room should help.
“He was a big part of putting this thing together for me, obviously my first year,” Pederson said. “Last year it was unfortunate the injury. What he’s done so far putting himself back in position to help this football team in many ways, from a leadership standpoint and running back standpoint and a punt return standpoint. I’m excited to get him back.”
With Jay Ajayi, Clement and Sproles the Eagles should have enough returning talent in the background. Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey, who spent last season on Injured Reserve, are also on the roster.
The Eagles also agreed to terms with undrafted rookie Josh Adams, according to his agent Hadley Englehard. Adams, a product of Central Bucks South, comes from Notre Dame.