PHILADELPHIA -- Darren Sproles is 33 years old, and he is really beginning to feel the pull of family.
His two daughters are "getting to the age that they want their daddy around more," Sproles explained, and so he has decided that next season will be his last in the NFL. That was the thought when he inked a one-year extension through 2017 this summer with the Philadelphia Eagles, and it remains the thought as he gets set to complete his 12th season in the league.
"A little bit," he said, when asked if he is starting to get sentimental now that the end of his career is near, "but I feel like [after 2017] it will be time."
His hope is to remain in Philadelphia for the swan song -- he has grown close to many of his teammates and is fond of the coaching staff -- but noted that whether he's back in an Eagles uniform next season is out of his hands.
"That's not up to me. That's up to the people upstairs. I've got nothing to do with that," Sproles said. "But that's the plan."
Sproles is scheduled to make a base salary of $4 million next season. There is certainly an argument to be made for why that is a worthwhile investment. For one, he remains productive. His 406 rushing yards (4.8 ypc) is the second-highest total of his career. He has an additional 423 receiving yards on the season, has found the end zone four times in all and remains a threat in the return game.
Second, the running back cupboard might be pretty bare without him. Ryan Mathews suffered a neck injury in Week 16 against the New York Giants, further clouding his future with the team. Little proven depth lies beyond that.
Sproles responded "yeah" when asked if he would return to the NFL for one final season whether the Eagles decide to keep him or not.
"[My family] wanted me to [retire] this year. I was like, 'Nah, I can't. I can't.' The thing is, when you're chasing that ring ... you really want to get that ring."
Checking in at just 5-foot-6 and 190 pounds, Sproles has gained league-wide respect for his accomplishments and approach to the game. This season, he moved past LaDainian Tomlinson and into eighth place for career all-purpose yards (18,975). Steve Smith (19,146) and Marshall Faulk (19,190) are within sight.
The ring is the thing, though, for Sproles. And so he will head to San Diego following this Sunday's finale against the Dallas Cowboys and jump directly into his legendary training regimen (he only gives himself two weeks off max in the offseason, he said) in order to make one last run at it.
Can he realistically win a Super Bowl with the Eagles next season?
"We've got a good chance," he replied. "We get some pieces in here, we can make a good push for it."