Sproles led the NFL in both punt return yards (446) and punt return touchdowns (two) last season. Since 2007 he’s the NFL’s all purpose yards leader (16,207) and leads all running backs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
At 33 years old, Sproles still owns a big role in Philly. Not only will he return punts, but he is set to be a major factor out of the backfield. With presumptive starter Ryan Mathews sitting out the beginning of camp with an injury, it’s Sproles who’s taking the starting snaps. The shifty pass-catcher projects well in coach Doug Pederson’s offense.
A young Eagles backfield that consists of two rookies — Wendell Smallwood and Cedric O’Neal — and fourth-year back Kenjon Barner could get even younger in 2017. Sproles’ leadership in the running back room should not be discounted. Philadelphia made sure his voice will be around another year.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon expressed a level of growth and maturity when he met with reporters on Thursday as veterans reported to training camp. Gordon proclaimed that everyone will soon realize that he’s a changed man.
“I definitely think I’m a different person. If you haven’t changed over a period of time than it’s definitely a bad thing. I think me standing here is a testament to that,” Gordon said. “Most people might not see it that way. That just comes with the territory with me being who I am, considering my past. But I’m only looking towards the future. And hopefully people can see that.”
Gordon was reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis on July 25. He will serve a four-game suspension before suiting up in Week 5 for the first time since December of 2014, but is allowed to participate in training camp.
The wideout was genuine and contrite about his past drug problems that induced a year-long ban.
“In the past I’ve been a selfish player. I’ll definitely admit that. I wanted to do things my way,” Gordon reminisced. “But things turn around. People change. It’s possible to change. It takes some learning, but you eventually get to that point and I think I have.”
The oft-banned receiver appears ready to approach things in his life with a level of maturity that we have not seen from him before. Gordon, 25, voiced that his maturation as a person is bigger than football.