Miles Sanders knew he needed to have a big year.
The 25-year-old Philadelphia Eagles running back is due for a contract extension, and he used the 2022 regular season to prove he deserves to get paid. Sanders finished fifth in rushing yards (1,269), eight in touchdowns (11), and eight in rushing attempts (259).
He was a critical contributor to an offense that hummed through opponents for most of the season, earning the Eagles a Wild Card round bye and the No. 1 overall seed. But heading into what could be the last game of the season on Saturday, Sanders wants Eagles fans to know that whatever happens, he hopes to return to the team that drafted him.
“I love Philly,” Sanders said. “Just bring me back. I hope they bring me back. I love you [general manager] Howie [Roseman]. And I hope you love me too.”
Though Sanders has shown an affinity for Philadelphia, a new contract doesn’t appear to be close. The two sides have held limited discussions. And instead of pressing the issue, Sanders elected to show his value to the Eagles with his play this season.
Sanders has remained healthy, despite having a poor track record with injuries in previous seasons.
Sanders has remained patient with his on-field running and his demeanor in the locker room. Throughout the season, Sanders has continued to earn the trust of Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni with performances like his 144 rushing yards and two touchdown performance against the Giants.
And in the playoffs, the Eagles will be needing the best of Sanders, who late in the season cooled off, being held to under 70 rushing yards in four-straight performances.
Either way, Sanders has been central to Philadelphia’s success. Winning on Saturday will require the best of him. And if he has a great game, his return to Philadelphia on a new contract should follow suit.
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Feature image via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports