That Sproles Talk I Promised


First off, my latest over on FOX Sports is on Darren Sproles. Here’s a snippet:

"The year was 2002. I was a bartender at Gilligan’s Bar and Grill in Manhattan, Kan., just blocks away from the Kansas State University campus. It was late on a Friday night. The place was packed — it was always packed on weekends. All of a sudden, a kid walks into the bar. I yelled, “Hey, someone’s gonna have to take that little boy outta here.” But as he walked closer, I realized that he wasn’t a little boy at all. He was Darren Sproles.OK, so maybe that didn’t exactly happen back during my KSU days, but the point is that it very well could have. That’s how short former Wildcats star and current San Diego Chargers running back Darren Sproles truly is. 5-foot-6? Yeah, right. Maybe in heels.At the same time, don’t let his height, or lack thereof, fool you. He’s the real deal, people. More Barry (Sanders) than Bogues, Boykins or Boy Blue. But that hasn’t stopped the naysayers from doubting him at every stop."

Make sure to read the rest to gain more insight on why I think so highly of Sproles, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version. Little dude has been doubted at every stop, and he’s responded by making the haters look foolish at every stop. Looks like D-Sproles is up to his old tricks.

Jason Whitlock agrees. His excerpt from FOX Sports after the jump…

"LT’s injury saved the Chargers. With a healthy LT, Sproles never gets his chance to dominate the Colts. Darren “Seabiscuit” Sproles is an every-down back. Yes, he’s small, but the Biscuit, like the legendary undersized thoroughbred, is made to run with the big dogs.I’ve been watching Seabiscuit make fools of bigger men ever since he starred at Olathe North High School, 20 minutes from my home. When he signed with Kansas State, I had my doubts. He put a clown suit on me and everyone in the Big 12.What he did to the Colts on Saturday — 328 all-purpose yards — did not surprise anyone who saw him play in high school and college. The Biscuit is off the chains."

I’m not a big fan of Seabiscuit. I prefer the usual suspects — Dizzy and Tank — but maybe that’s just me. Regardless of my nickname nagging, Big Sexy and I agree on Sproles. Like many fellow Addicts out there, we’ve been watching this happen for a decade now, and absolutely refuse to doubt the kid at this point. Has the rest of the world seen enough to get on the Sproles Bandwagon? Apparently not.

Adam Schein had this to say in his latest over on, you guessed it, FOX:

"4. Darren Sproles is becoming a multimillionaireI love Darren Sproles. I couldn’t praise the Chargers enough for drafting the diminutive back a few years ago. His performance as a runner, receiver, kick returner, punt returner, and, let’s not overlook, pass blocker was truly special on Saturday night.But I just don’t see Sproles becoming a 25-carry-a-game guy for a team next year and getting paid like a star back.He’s not the next Michael Turner (leaving LaDainian Tomlinson’s shadow and carrying a team) because he isn’t built like Michael Turner."

Adam, you’re right; Sproles is not the next Micheal Turner — he’s the next MJD. Ever heard of the Whopper Jr. Well, Sproles is Barry Sanders Jr. Yes, he’s a poor man’s version of Barry, but that’s still easily good enough to be the key cog of an NFL running game. All the Football Outsiders can yap about is the fumble that he later avenged with the game-winning touchdown. 328 all-purpose yards on 35 touches — not to mention some outstanding blocking — and they want to harp on his one mistake. WTF?

He’s displayed the necessary toughness. How many players can rattle off 35 touches in a playoff football game and come out unscathed? I just can’t understand why people continue to doubt this kid. What is it going to take for him to totally silence all of his critics?

Hopefully, a big performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the Chargers win, Norv Turner sticks around and the Bolts’ first-round pick continues to fall back. Plus, they don’t have the defense to win it all, so another win is no big deal.

Then again, I believe in the kid no matter what. Maybe the Steel Curtain dominating Sproles and Co. would be better. Maybe he’d have a better chance of hitting the free agent market and, you knew I was going to go here, coming home. I know it’s a long shot, but while he’s not the next Michael Turner, I can definitely see him having a Turneresque impact on a new NFL team next season. I’m at least hoping he bolts San Diego, pun intended. If A.J. Smith let’s Drew Brees, Turner and Sproles all walk away, he needs to be canned quicker than tuna.