INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time in his 16-year playing career, Philip Rivers had discussions this offseason about retirement.
In talking with his wife and oldest children, the desire to keep playing, and start a new journey somewhere else, won out in the end.
And that means the 11-person Rivers family is relocating from southern California, through a few months in northwest Florida right now and eventually calling central Indiana home, for at least one season.
“This was probably the first year where we did have those discussions,” Rivers said during a Saturday conference call, after he officially joined the Colts.
“I think really where we settled in was I still love to play. Certainly not coming off my best year but in a year where I still know I can play at a high level. I did it in spurts, just didn’t do it consistent enough. I love it and, it was one of those deals where we said, ‘Well, if there’s nothing else out there then that’ll be our answer.’ We kind of just said, ‘Whatever God wants.’ So if there’s nothing out there, I don’t want to just try to hang on to play. If nothing is out there, shoot we’ll start coaching. But if there’s an opportunity with a team and the fact that it ended up being with this organization…”
Yep, the Colts were the team that Rivers hoped wanted him this offseason.
Along with a stout offensive line, Rivers ran down the reasons why he was crossing his fingers that Indianapolis would come after him.
“A heck of a football team,” Rivers began in listing off why he wanted to join the Colts. “We played them last year in the opener and it was a heck of a game. I certainly have respected the organization from afar for a long time – way back, way back many, many years. Certainly, now with Chris Ballard as the GM. I’ve had some experience with (head coach) Frank Reich, (offensive coordinator) Nick Sirianni and (tight ends coach) Jason Michael – those guys at different times I was with in San Diego. So I certainly believe in Frank as a leader and as a coach. I hear it’s a heck of a locker room and I know it’s a heck of a team just from seeing them compete each year, especially these past couple with this new regime. That just kind of sums it up.
“I am excited to be a part of them, be a part of those guys and try to help us get to the top.”
For the last 7 seasons, Rivers has played in an offense similar to the one that Reich helped install with the Chargers in 2013.
That three-year history of Rivers playing under Reich was what also appealed to the Colts during this process.
“I’m sure there are certainly some things that have changed (and) I look forward to learning those and getting a feel for those, but for the most part it is going to be almost the same system that we’ve ran since I’ve been in it since ’13,” Rivers says. “In a lot of ways you find out over a long career that a lot of us all run the same thing. You call it a little differently. But I think having some same verbiage, having that familiarity again, I have been in meeting rooms with Frank, Nick and Jason Michael, we communicate the same way. I know what those guys are trying to get out of a play and why they are calling this. They understand what I think and how I look for things. There is a good dynamic there from the way we communicate. I think that is a positive and I do think there was a trust factor that was built in our time here in San Diego. I think that’s important as a play-caller and as Nick as the coordinator, Frank and Nick and all those guys, as they do it together. It’s important to have that trust, that Frank has called the plays before and we’ve made it work. I’ve communicated this to him, we’ve had a lot of those experiences together, those trust-building experiences and I think that that certainly lends to the confidence that this is going to be a successful opportunity.”
Rivers will arrive in Indianapolis later this spring, or summer, on a one-year deal.
Will it just be one season for Rivers with the Colts?
The 38-year-old quarterback has a desire to coach his sons in high school. Well, his oldest son is a 5th grader.
Before that next chapter becomes real for Rivers, he will now head to Indy trying to complete his professional football resume.
“My dad was my high school football coach so I want to coach my boys and coach young boys down the road, so I do know what’s next when my playing time is over,” Rivers says. “I’m taking it one year at a time. I think last year it all worked out just how it was supposed to in terms of extension or no extension. (Chargers GM) Tom Telesco and I were open with one another and decided to just play it out – let’s just play it out and then we can go one year at a time and it worked out the way it worked out. But I think that’s the best way to do it at 38.
“I do feel good, I feel great. If I feel like I feel right now next year, then I’ll be excited to keep going. Again, depending on how the team feels about that and etc. So, I don’t know, I don’t have a number on it. Like I said, I want to coach my son, my oldest son. I have two boys that are 12 and eight (years old). He’ll be a sixth grader, so we have a little bit of time but that is important to me to coach him in high school. I’m not going to get carried away. I don’t think you’ll see me in the Tom Brady (42 years old) range. But I am excited and feel like I can still help a football team go win a championship.”