Thursday, 04 August 2011 10:58
If Darren Sproles Soars for New Orleans Saints, Credit Drew Brees
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As ESPN said the Saints chased after running back Darren Sproles, credit Drew Brees.

"Our workouts really went back to March in San Diego," said the quarterback. "Back then, I kept telling him he was going to be a Saint.

"He was drafted (fourth round) by San Diego in 2005, so we played together there for a year.  I was recruiting him hard and then the whole Reggie Bush down and weren't sure what was going to happen. When it really came down to the last few weeks and it seemed like there could be a realist for it to happen. I started letting him know what a great place this is, what a great environment it is, what a great team it is, and what a great city it is.

"I felt like this was as good of an opportunity for him as any to achieve his individual goals and help us win another championship. That's all he wants is to win a championship."

Sproles followed Bush's recommendation and signed and agreed to a four-year $14 million deal with $6 million guaranteed.

Sproles, 5-foot-6, 185 pounds was the shortest player in the NFL until the Texans signed former LSU sprinter Trindon Holliday. Holliday is 5-foot-5.

Brees said the addition of Sproles' speed and versatility in the running, passing and return games would absolutely allow the Saints to run many of the same plays originally designed for Bush.

"When you look at the guy's skill sets, they're very similar in a lot of ways. As I look at our offense and the way we would have used Reggie and be able to do even more things with him."

Football always has come easy for Sproles. The spoken word is more difficult.  Sproles stutters.

He doesn't hide from the problem. He takes it on. He is speaking to the media more and more.

During an interview with ESPN, Sproles froze during the middle, but recovered and got through it.

Sproles, who became aware of his stuttering at age 4, says the problem became more pronounced when he was a star football player in high school and at Kansas State.

"I had to talk to the media a lot, and once they put a camera in my face, that's when it got bad," said Sproles. "I just had to work on it.  I really couldn't really stress about it."

Coming out of Kansas State, Sproles was one of the most prolific runners and all-purpose players in college football history. He set nearly every school record imaginable --  23 in all  --  and he is regarded by many as the best player in the 110-yer history of Kansas State football.

He majored in speech pathology at Kansas State.

"I don't have to be in a hurry to say something," said Sproles, who has learned to take his time while answering question during interviews.

"I'm very familiar with him  as a person," said Brees.  "His work ethic, and the drive and competitiveness that he has. He's going to fit in great with this team and this locker room and this offensive system.

"He is a guy with exceptional skills in a lot of different ways and we're going to be able to use him in a lot of ways."

 by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz Staff

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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