The video of Darren Sproles running rings around opponents on a youth football field confirms he’s been performing at a high level for a very long time. It’s nevertheless easy to overlook the very high level at which Sproles has performed through his lengthy NFL career, in part because he’s the classic jack-of-all-football-trades.
How lengthy of a career has it been? Sproles entered the NFL in 2005, a year before Reggie Bush. And Sproles has been far closer to the all-around performer that Bush was supposed to be.
Consider this: Sproles currently ranks No. 8 on the all-time list of all-purpose yards, with 19,011. With only 572 this year, he’ll be in the top five, behind only Jerry Rice (23,546), Brian Mitchell (23,330), Walter Payton (21,803), and Emmitt Smith (21,564).
While it’s a lot easier to pile up yardage returning punts and kickoffs than it is to accumulate statistics from scrimmage, Sproles nevertheless has put his name above and among some of the all-time greats. That may never be enough to get him to Canton, but he’s got plenty of current and future Hall of Famers in his wake.