Brian Mitchell came to the Eagles in 2000. He had spent 10 years as a dynamic punt return/kick return/running back/slot receiver. Multi-faceted and dangerous in each aspect, Mitchell was already a known player. He had nine return touchdowns while putting up nearly 4,000 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage in Washington. But at 32, seemed to be on the decline.
Enter Andy Reid and the Eagles.
Mitchell joined a seriously young 2000 Eagles team and immediately became the Birds starting return man. Mitchell also had 13 catches and an 85-yard run that year.
The Eagles’ signing of Darren Sproles on Thursday has been universally praised by fans and media alike. The two terms I’ve heard to describe Sproles are “Brian Westbrook 2.0” and “LeSean McCoy clone”. I don’t think those are fair comparisons. Sproles is 31. He’s declining and no longer much of a threat rushing the ball.
But I don’t think Sproles is this team’s backup running back in 2014. I think Sproles joins a seriously young 2014 Eagles team and will be the team’s starting return man while getting snaps as a slot receiver and in the screen game. In that capacity, he’s much more Brian Mitchell than Brian Westbrook. And that’s okay. I think Sproles will be terrific in that role.
(Photo Credits: Archobld, x)