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Darren Sproles is a former Kansas State University football and track athlete who went on to have a remarkable career in the National Football League with teams like San Diego Chargers (2005–2010), New Orleans Saints (2011–2013), and the Philadelphia Eagles (2014–present).
The record-breaking athlete who was named as a kick returner on the Chargers 50th Anniversary Team currently holds the NFL record for all-purpose yards in a single season.
Darren Sproles was born on the 20th of June, 1983 in Waterloo, Iowa. He is the child of Annette and Larry Sproles, a former college athlete who played running back for the MidAmerica Nazarene University. Sproles grew up in Olathe, Kansas, attending Rolling Ridge Elementary, Oregon Trail Junior High, and then Olathe North High School.
During his time in high school, Sproles dominated among his peers in football and received a wide range of awards for his talents. They include being twice named The Kansas City Star Player of the Year and then the USA Today Kansas and Kansas Hall of Fame Player of the Year as a senior. He also garnered an All-State and All-American selection, managing 5,230 rushing yards and 79 touchdowns before graduating.
Darren Sproles went on to attend Kansas State University. In his freshman year, he appeared in only 6 games with 210 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. The following year was, however, a different story as his role in the team’s offense increased. He went on to play in 13 games, carrying 237 for 1,465 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. His decent string of performances carried on into his junior year as he helped his team win the Big 12 Conference championship but however came fifth in the year’s Heisman Trophy voting. He finished the season with 1,986 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
In his final collegiate season, Darren Sproles had 1,318 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He went on to graduate with a degree in Speech Pathology before heading to the NFL. Sproles was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth round as the 130th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and the rest became history.
Darren Sproles Family – Wife
Darren Sproles is married to his longtime girlfriend Michel Hunt, a former professional track athlete who now works as a girls’ track coach as well as a certified image consultant, an entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Mrs. Sproles, born on the 29th of November, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, is also a breast cancer survivor, having undergone a double mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery.
Darren and Michel were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. They were said to have maintained a relationship over the phone for about two months before getting to meet in person. They went on to exchange vows in 2010 and have been blessed with two daughters; Devyn Annette Sproles and Rhyan Leigh Sproles.
Michel Sproles has found herself in the news a number of times due to her outspokenness on issues surrounding her husband’s career. She once called out the New Orleans Saints management for their intention to trade her husband without notifying him, especially after he had sacrificed a lot for the team and also invested in the community.
Sproles will never be the tallest player on the field due to his 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) height. However, while he might not be able to reach the top of the shelf with his feet on the ground, his height, coupled with his weight of 190 pounds (86 kg), provides him with a low center of gravity and maneuverability that allows him to be very effective as a running back, eluding tackles and making up the yards.
Darren Sproles, in 2008, set the NFL record for most combined total return yards (602) in a two-game playoff span. In addition to his record single-season all-purpose yardage, he is the first player with over 2,200 all-purpose yards in 4 different seasons and ranks 8th in career all-purpose yards with 19,020 yards in NFL history.
Sproles is reported to have an estimated net worth of $24 million. In 2018, he signed a one-year $1.4 million contract with the Eagles which came with a $400,000 signing bonus. He has further announced that this will be his last ever contract as he sets to retire after the season.
He suffers from a speech impediment which he has had since his childhood.