Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles, who played for the Saints from 2011 to 2013, told an NJ.com reporter that New Orleans “disrespected” him before trading him to Philadelphia in March.
“First, (Saints coach) Sean (Payton) told me they were going to cut me, then I find out on Twitter they’re trading me,” said Sproles, who explained to reporter Mark Eckel that a friend texted him a screenshot of the news that New Orleans intended to deal him away in an effort to create salary cap space.
Sproles reportedly also said, “Listen, I understand this is business and all of that, but … that’s just not right.”
Sproles added, “I haven’t been in contact with anyone there since I left. I really haven’t paid attention to what they’re doing. I’m more focused on what’s happening here.”
NJ.com said Sproles was aware of the Saints’ 1-3 record and that they got blown out by Dallas 38-17 in Week 4 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Sproles is the reigning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after running back a punt 82 yards for a touchdown in a 26-21 loss at San Francisco.
He has three total touchdowns, is leading the NFL with 200 punt return yards and 319 yards from scrimmage, and his 519 all-purpose yards have him on pace to surpass 2,000 all-purpose yards for the fifth time in his career.
One of those times was with the Saints in 2011, when he set the single-season NFL record for all-purpose yards (2,969) to help New Orleans reach the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Saints traded Sproles in exchange for a draft choice they used on reserve linebacker Ronald Powell out of Florida. Sproles entered the league in 2005 as a fourth-round draft choice for San Diego, where he played until becoming a free agent after the 2010 season. He was teammates his rookie year in San Diego with quarterback Drew Brees, who’s played for the Saints since 2006.
Brees this spring said it was especially tough watching Sproles depart after they also spent three seasons together with the Saints.
After Week 2 this season, Brees remarked of Sproles’ level of play so far in 2014: “I’m happy for him. I’m not surprised; that guy’s a stud.”
While walking near the media room at the Saints’ facility on Thursday, General Manager Mickey Loomis politely said he had “no comments on Darren’s comments.”
“I appreciate the opportunity,” Loomis said.
Loomis signed off on the organization’s decision to trade Sproles away.