When Darren Sproles suffered a quad injury against the New York Jets, the Eagles turned to Boston Scott, a player the team’s coaches compared Sproles to coming out OTAs and minicamp.
Scott appeared to have a good shot at making the 53-man roster heading into training camp in late July, especially after his strong spring, but the Eagles decided to re-sign Sproles on July 19.
The Eagles weren’t signing the 36-year-old Sproles for one more go-round only to cut him at the end of camp. So it was Scott who became expendable.
Scott made it through the waiver period and the Eagles re-signed him to their practice squad. It was from the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad where Scott came from initially, with the Eagles signing him in December of last season. Scott returned kickoffs over the final two regular season games and the two playoff games.
“Being on any team in any capacity is a blessing,” said Scott. “I definitely don’t want to take that for granted.”
It appears that Scott’s opportunity may have arrived. He was promoted from the practice squad on Oct. 11, five days after the Eagles’ 31-6 win over the Jets, and he has filled in nicely in the three games Sproles has missed so far.
Staying in the right frame of mind waiting for this opportunity wasn’t easy for him.
“A lot of time it was tough,” said Scott. “It was frustrating because I wanted to play whenever I was on the practice squad with the Saints and I was on the practice squad here, but (Eagles assistant head/running backs coach) Duce (Staley) made a good point.
“He was like, ‘Don’t let the opportunity come and you’re not prepared. You’d rather just be prepared and the opportunity not come,’ so I just focused on what I could control, what I could focus on, my habits, taking notes every single day as if I’m going to play and it ended up working out in my favor.”
At 5-6, 203 pounds, and as the third running back in a three-man rotation, it is easy for Scott to get lost in the large shadows that Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are casting so far this season.
Scott shows glimpses every now and then of what looks like a bright future. He scored his first career touchdown last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry with 16 rushes for 68 yards. Scott has also returned four punts for an average of 7.5 yards per return.
There was the one blemish on Sunday when Scott fumbled away a punt in Buffalo, but the wind was gusting around 30 miles an hour all game long.
“I had it in my mind I was going to go catch the ball,” said Scott. “Even looking at it on film, had I not stumbled, there was still grass there for the ball to be returned. But it’s easier said than done when you’re in there.
“The wind conditions were just crazy. It was wet, too. I feel like if it wasn’t as wet, I maybe could’ve secured it, but you know…”
Sproles is getting close to returning. He was a limited participant in practice this week as the Eagles prepare to host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, so he appears on track to return sooner rather than later.
When Sproles does come back, it is likely Scott sticks on the roster, though what is role will be as the fourth running back is still unclear at this point.
“I feel like I’ve done everything I can,” said Scott. “I hope so. I also know how the league is … I don’t know what the future holds, but I just focus on what I can control.”