Darren Sproles has shot at history

We’ve talked a lot this season about New Orleans running back/return man Darren Sproles and how he might be the best free agent signing of 2011.

He’s contributed heavily as a runner, receiver and returner and Sproles’ total body of work is turning out to be one of the best all-around seasons in NFL history. Sproles already has become the first player in NFL history to have 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 1,200 kick/punt returns in a single season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But Sproles also has a chance to break the NFL record for all-purpose yards in a season. He currently has 2,528, which ranks fourth in history. Sproles needs 163 yards against Carolina on Sunday to break the record (2,690) set by Derrick Mason in 2000. The only other players with more all-purpose yards in a season were Michael Lewis (2,647) in 2002 and Lionel James (2,535) in 1985.