It would make a lot of sense for the Eagles to bring the band back together — as much as they can at least.
There has been a lot of turnover already for the Super Bowl champion Eagles, as veteran leaders Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Patrick Robinson and others will be suiting up elsewhere in 2018. It could serve the Eagles well to try and keep as many of the core from their success last season intact. Afterall, it was a locker room culture of winning, acceptance and brotherhood that is credited by many as propelling the Birds to the precipice of football.
Which is why Darren Sproles, currently a free agent, and Brent Celek, recently cut by the Eagles, are desired back in the fold by head coach Doug Pederson.
“I think that’s a player you’d consider bringing back,” Pederson said of Celek at the NFL Owners Meetings Tuesday, “especially if you weren’t able to fit all the pieces together at the spot. So he’s definitely in that conversation.”
The Eagles reportedly really like the tight end class in the NFL draft, but the team is lacking in draft stock — sporting the 32nd overall pick before five picks on the third day of the draft (between the fourth and seventh rounds). There is no guarantee, at least yet, that the team will be able to nab a player like Penn State’s Mike Gesicki.
Bringing back Celek, part of the beating heart of the team at 33-years-old for a lesser salary closer to the veteran minimum could be a saavy move if the Eagles can pull it off. And if they can somehow sway Celek away from teams potentially willing to offer more like the Broncos.
Sproles, the dynamic speedy and shifty running back known for his return skills, has a different story. At 34, he is within striking distance of finishing his career in the top 5 in all-time all-purpose yards. He expressed an interest in retiring before the 2017 season started — and before he broke his arm and tore his ACL on the same play in Week 3. But he didn’t want to go out that way.
“We’ve reached out to him during the free agency period, and talked to him,” Pederson said. “He’s expressed that he wants to be back here. He knows we want him back here. Heck yeah. He’s a big part of our team. (He’s a) punt returner, he’s a tremendous back, third down guy. So we’ll see what falls out. He wants to still play, and I want him to play, and I want him to be an Eagle.”
With no contract currently, Sproles rehabbed and is almost fully healed and Pederson seems unconcerned with his being in shape. The Eagles have a spot open in their running back room to play alongside Corey Clement, and Jay Ajayi and it seems as though they are quite eager for him to suit up in green again.
“I just know the way he works, the way he trains, the way he gets himself prepared, if and when he decides to sign and come back, come on,” the coach said. “We’re ready for him.”