By Joseph Santoliquito


By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If it were up to Darren Sproles, he’d design every Eagles’ play for him. There’s no mystery to Sproles. He wants the ball. The Tonka-tough tailback is really looking forward to playing in Doug Pederson’s offense.

Sproles, who’s had a borderline Hall of Fame career, enters this 11th NFL season feeling in the best shape he has in some time. He likes the ball in his hands. His 83 rushes in 2015 were the third highest of his career (behind 93 carries in 2009 with San Diego and 87 in 2011 with New Orleans). His last playoff appearance was 2013—and his last playoff victory was at Lincoln Financial Field, when he helped the Saints beat the Eagles in the wild card game.

Sproles turned 33 on June 20 and he knows his NFL clock is ticking toward getting a Super Bowl ring. It’s why he’s been taking added steps in the off-season to enter training camp stronger than in previous years.

“My body fat went down, but my weight is still the same,” admitted the 5-foot-6, 190-pound Sproles, whose nickname is “Tank,” and though he’s built low to the ground, he’s shaped like a giant fist. “I feel like I can go forever. I feel more explosive. That comes from training this off-season. My endurance is great. My trainer and I had a good plan this off-season of checking my diet.

“I love candy, so I had to lay off the candy. But overall, I feel great. Give me the ball and I’m good.”

It’s shown throughout training camp. Sproles has been given added reps while lead back Ryan Mathews’ injured ankle heals.

“It’s not up to me how many carries I get, but we’ll see,” Sproles said. “I like this offense and what [Pederson] is doing. I’m the old man now. These young guys are looking to me for advice and the best advice I can give them is by watching me work hard and stay dedicated. It’s important for me to win a Super Bowl, especially here, where I may be finishing my career. The yards and touchdowns are important, but to me, winning is more important than anything. I want to win here. I want the Eagles to get back into the playoffs.”