Darren Sproles will miss the remainder of the NFL season after suffering a torn ACL and a broken arm on the same play last week.
That was difficult news for Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder to hear. Sproles, a former star running back for the Wildcats, is one of Snyder’s favorite players.
Snyder has been impressed by Sproles’ long NFL career, which features 19,164 all-purpose yards as a running back and return specialist over 13 seasons. But what most impresses him about Sproles?
That’s a question he answered Tuesday at his weekly news conference.
“The most impressive thing, because I was well aware of the talent, skill and capabilities that he had,” Snyder said, “and it didn’t surprise me a bit, was the fact that he was able to remain Darren Sproles in the environment that he’s in.
“That environment can chance young people in their own personal lives and their own philosophies and attitudes so dramatically and that hasn’t happened. He’s highly respected by his teammates and coaches and people with his NFL team.
“He’s the same young guy. That’s what’s impressive to me.”
Sproles came to K-State after a storied high school career at Olathe North and continued to make big plays for the Wildcats.
Playing for K-State from 2001 to 2004, he set several school rushing records that remain in place today, including most yards in a game (292), most attempts in a game (43), most yards in a season (1,986) and most yards in a career (4,979).
He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2005 and stayed with them until 2011. He has since played for the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.
It is unclear whether Sproles’ NFL career is over. At one point, he said this would be his final season, but he later said he had two more productive years in him.
On Tuesday, Sproles referenced a comeback on Twitter and told his fans to stay tuned.
Snyder also praised Sproles earlier this month when he wrote an essay about his career for The Players Tribune.
“Given everything I learned about him while he played for us,” Snyder wrote, “it’s no surprise to me that Darren Sproles has taken his diligence and work ethic to the NFL, where he has become one of the most exciting players in the league. I can’t think of a better representative for what this program is about. He’s just a good young man, one of the many, many young men I’m very proud of.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett