A terrified Darren Sproles stopped to catch his breath in the deep, safe grass of the Oakland Coliseum outfield last night after scurrying across the dirt infield for a 20-yard gain against the Raiders. After the brief stop, the miniature Chargers back checked to see that the coast was clear and then pushed his way through the dense field before emerging in the end zone.
"I saw him shoot out across the dirt," said Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour. "I almost stomped him with my foot, and thenNnamdi Asomugha almost hit with a broom. But he was too fast. Too shifty."
And then once he made it to the grass, Sproles was out of sight.
"I didn't even bother looking for him," said Seymour. "That's why we set Sproles traps out there. Apparently we need to set more because he's still loose."
Once Sproles made it through the end zone, he climbed up the goal post to the crossbar and waved his arms to show that he had scored. But the trek had taken so long, play had continued on without him.
"We thought he had gone to his nest or something," said head referee Jeff Trimble. "Play had to continue. He was gone for minutes. Plus, it's not fair for him to carry a tiny football, too. I know he has his handicap and the NFL tries to be sensitive to that, but that makes him impossible to see."
Sproles says he would have to retire if he is forced to use a regulation-size football.
"I would be crushed," he said. "And I may be small, but you might be surprised at the amount of blood inside me. I'm like a small mosquito."