Philip Rivers

Latest On Philip Rivers’ Potential Comeback

Philip Rivers returned to the NFL news cycle Tuesday, indicating he will consider a late-season comeback — if an opportunity presents itself. The former Chargers and Colts quarterback made it clear Wednesday he will not ditch his plans to coach high school football this season.

The 39-year-old passer-turned-coach confirmed he will finish his first season at St. Michael Catholic (Fairhope, Alabama) and added that a comeback should still be considered on the less likely side. That said, Rivers plans to stay ready after his high school team’s season ends in either October or November — depending on St. Michael’s postseason docket.

It’s a long shot at best. But gonna be ready just in case,” Rivers said in a text to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter). “…Will not even consider until our season is over no matter what. And like I said, somebody has to want ya.”

Rivers ditching plans to make his coaching debut would help the Colts, who have his successor — Carson Wentzsidelined for an extensive period. But any team eyeing Rivers will have to wait. However, Rivers’ potential return would hinge on a starter going down. The 17-year vet would only come back if a starter on a contending team was lost for the season, thus opening up a QB1 gig, Mortensen adds (via Twitter). So, a significant injury’s timing would need to line up for Rivers to suit up again.

After leading the Colts to the 2020 playoffs, Rivers called it quits shortly after Indianapolis’ narrow opening-round defeat. But his unretirement will be a storyline to monitor this year, depending on how the quarterback health landscape looks during the season’s second half.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Philip Rivers Would Consider Late-Season Return

We may not have seen the last of Philip Rivers. Sam Farmer of the LA Times reports (via Twitter) that the quarterback “isn’t closing the door” on returning to the NFL. While the 39-year-old is currently focused on his gig as a high school coach, he’d consider joining a QB-needy squad late in the season.

The 17-year veteran announced his retirement back in January, but that came after a month or so of mulling his decision. At the time, Rivers cited his “growing desire to coach high school football” as reasoning for hanging up his cleats. The 39-year-old still sounds committed to that cause, but Rivers could return to the NFL once the high school season concludes.

Of course, a potential return would be dependent on a job opening. Presumably, Rivers would only be interested in joining a contender, which means a top QB would have to succumb to injury. Plus, these teams might prefer to stick with their in-house options, so Rivers’ list of suitors will probably be limited. Still, these hypothetical suitors could do a whole lot worse; Rivers guided the Colts to an 11-5 record last season while completing 68-percent of his passes for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

That performance was a big reason why the Colts were interested in a reunion. Indy could use someone of Rivers’ caliber right now while Carson Wentz is sidelined. However, the current starter is expected to miss anywhere from five to 12 weeks; even if Wentz returns on the late side of that timeline, it would still only be late October. If Rivers is truly only focused on a late-season return, the Colts probably won’t be a fit.

Rivers spent 16 years with the Chargers before spending the 2020 campaign in Indianapolis. In total, the former fourth-overall pick threw for 63,440 yards and 421 touchdowns while earning nine Pro Bowl nods during his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts QB Philip Rivers Retires From NFL

The Colts planned to give Philip Rivers at least a month to mull his NFL future. It turns out, he only needed about a week to make his decision. The star quarterback will retire from the game after 17 seasons. 

It’s just time,” Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s just right…What has helped me come to this (decision) is the growing desire to coach high school football. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been growing. I can’t wait.”

Rivers spent the majority of his career with the Chargers before hooking on with the Colts in 2020. In his lone Indy season, he led the team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Even at his advanced age, Rivers managed to top 4,000 passing yards for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. After completing 68% of his regular season throws, Rivers & Co. came up short against the Bills in the Wild Card round.

Rivers will coach high school football in Alabama this year, even though he had multiple TV opportunities. He also had plenty of opportunities still waiting for him in the NFL. The Colts seemed interested in an 18th season from No. 17, and they weren’t alone. Still, at the age of 39, Rivers is ready to move on to the next chapter.

I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season,” Rivers said in a statement. “Thank you to all my coaches that helped me grow as a player and person. Thanks to the support staff. I appreciate the opposing defenses making it challenging physically and mentally every week. … I also enjoyed the banter. I appreciate the referees for putting up with all my fussing. I think I was right most of the time dadgummit!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts, Philip Rivers To Talk In February

Philip Rivers has nothing left to prove and no shortage of post-career opportunities. Still, the veteran could come back for another season. For his part, Colts GM Chris Ballard says he’ll give the quarterback time and space to assess his future.

[RELATED: TV Networks Eyeing Rivers]

Do I think Philip can still play? Absolutely,” Ballard said (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of The Athletic). “He’s going to take some time, and we’re going to take some time. We’ll meet again in about a month.

In the meantime, Ballard will be keeping his fingers crossed. Even at the age of 39, Rivers managed to complete 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns against eleven interceptions. He finished the year with a 97.0 QB rating, putting him 13th in the NFL and putting the Colts in the playoffs.

If Rivers decides to walk away, the Colts could look to trade for Eagles QB Carson Wentz. But, if Rivers stays, the Colts can stand pat, put their resources elsewhere, and backstop him with a young signal caller in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Philip Rivers Undecided On Playing Future

In the immediate aftermath of the Colts’ difficult loss to the Bills in yesterday’s wildcard thriller, no one really expected Indianapolis signal-caller Philip Rivers to know whether he would return to the field in 2021. And sure enough, the 39-year-old QB, who became emotional towards the end of his postgame presser, indicated it might take some time for him to make his decision.

“I don’t go this route with an answer often, but I think this probably sums it up. Whatever God’s will is for me and my family, if it’s here in Indy playing another year then we’ll be here,” Rivers said (via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). “And if it’s not, I’ll be on the sidelines with a ball cap coaching the heck out of a high school football team down in south Alabama. Whatever God’s will is is what I want to happen, and I’ll be fine with that.”

If Rivers chooses to come back — and he did say shortly after he signed a one-year contract with the Colts that he wanted to continue his playing career through the 2021 season — Indianapolis would surely welcome him with open arms. His 2020 performance was solid, if not spectacular, as he completed 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards and 24 TDs against 11 interceptions (good for a 97.0 QB rating, 13th-best in the league). On the other hand, the Colts did squeak into the playoffs despite playing the NFL’s easiest schedule, and their offense was just 16th in DVOA.

So look for the club to draft a young signal-caller if Rivers re-ups for one more season. If Rivers decides to call it quits, Indianapolis could obviously still turn to the draft for its long-term solution, or it could make a play for Eagles QB Carson Wentz. There will also be one or two somewhat intriguing names other than Rivers on the free agent market.

Despite the interest that TV networks reportedly have in Rivers, his statement yesterday afternoon suggested that he remains committed to coaching high school football, which he has talked about previously. But television probably pays a bit more than high school ball, even in Alabama, so we’ll have to stay tuned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carson Wentz To Request Trade

The relationship between Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz is fractured beyond repair, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com. Wentz is expected to ask the Eagles for a trade this offseason and will do whatever he can to facilitate a deal out of Philadelphia.

Wentz was benched for rookie signal-caller Jalen Hurts a few weeks ago, but shortly thereafter, it was reported that Philadelphia had not lost faith in Wentz and had no intention of trading him (though that may have simply been a tactic to maintain its leverage in trade negotiations). Wentz, however, was said to be rattled by the team’s decision to select Hurts in the second round of this year’s draft and was upset with how his benching unfolded. As a result, he is looking for a fresh start elsewhere.

Just yesterday, we learned that the Eagles plan to retain Pederson for the 2021 season, so assuming Mortensen’s report is accurate, the club may be choosing its head coach over its former MVP-candidate quarterback. However, Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says the Eagles still believe the situation is salvageable (Twitter link), so it remains to be seen how aggressive the team will be in trade talks.

If the club does elect to move on from Wentz, a trade is much more feasible than a release. Trading Wentz before the third day of the 2021 league year would result in a dead cap charge of just under $34MM for 2021, but given that Wentz’s cap number for next season is set to be just above $34MM, the Eagles would actually save a bit of cap space and would at least have some draft pick compensation in their pocket. Releasing Wentz would result in a massive dead cap hit of nearly $60MM, and while the Eagles could spread out that hit over two years by designating him a post-June 1 cut, carrying $30MM on the books for two consecutive seasons for a player no longer on the roster wouldn’t make much sense.

Because of the presence of former Eagles OC Frank Reich and their abundance of cap space, the Colts have been rumored as the most likely destination for Wentz in the event a trade is consummated. Indeed, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says Wentz would prefer Indianapolis over several other clubs (video link), and if incumbent Colts signal-caller Philip Rivers elects to retire at season’s end, Indy will certainly be in the market for a QB.

Rapoport says that Rivers, who signed a one-year, $25MM pact with the Colts this offseason, is very much open to retirement, and his decision may hinge on whether the team advances to the playoffs. TV networks are said to be eyeing Rivers, who could easily transition to the broadcast booth if he hangs up the cleats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL TV Networks Eyeing Philip Rivers

Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has acknowledged that Sunday’s game against the Jaguars could be his last. The 39-year-old may have some extra incentive to retire, because multiple TV networks are already eyeing him for the broadcast booth, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports hears.

[RELATED: Latest On Contract Talks Between Colts, T.Y. Hilton]

Rivers, who is rounding out a one-year, $25MM deal, is seen by some network execs as the next Tony Romo. ESPN and CBS both showed interest in Rivers around this time last year, before he ultimately decided to continue playing. This time around, there could be new suitors in the mix. If Apple or Amazon wind up airing games, they could turn to Rivers for name value and high-level analysis.

With Rivers under center, the Colts have won three of their last four to keep their playoff hopes alive. After falling short against the Steelers, the Colts will look to punch their ticket with a win over the Jaguars. They’ll need a Titans loss to go along with that, in order to seal the division, or three favorable outcomes to make it as a Wild Card team.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Sherman, Wentz, Rivers

Richard Sherman made a triumphant return to the 49ers last week, picking off Jared Goff to help upset the Rams in a must-win game. The star cornerback wasn’t basking in the glow of that victory this week though, as he bluntly talked about his future with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. In the interview, Sherman said he doesn’t expect to be back in San Francisco next season. “We’ve had brief conversations,” Sherman said about a new contract. “I think that there’s obviously a want from both sides to come back and make this work. Unfortunately, I don’t know that the circumstances will allow it.” Expounding further, Sherman made it clear that the 49ers are going to have to extend a lot of their core guys soon, and there simply might not be enough money left over for him.

There are a ton of guys that need to be paid and are coming up,” he said. “Fred Warner is coming up. There are, like, 40 free agents who need to be re-signed. At the end of the day, they have to do what’s best for the majority, for the team. And I got to understand that. And so the numbers are adding up to that I won’t be here, unless something miraculous happens, which would be really cool.” Sherman, who serves as his own agent, doesn’t seem to harbor any hard feelings about this potential reality. It’s a mature and nuanced take for a star player to have. The former Seahawks All-Pro has remained very productive since joining the 49ers in 2018, but he’s missed almost all of this season with a calf injury. He’ll be a free agent in March.

  • The big story of Week 13 so far has been the benching of Carson Wentz. Doug Pederson finally pulled the plug and inserted Jalen Hurts in the second half of Philly’s loss to Green Bay, and the rookie immediately provided a spark. He threw for a touchdown on a fourth and 19, and moved the offense much better than Wentz did even though he did have a game-sealing interception at the end. But speaking after the finish, Pederson wasn’t ready to announce his plans for Week 14. In his post-game press conference, the Super Bowl winning coach declined to name a starter and insisted his mind wasn’t made up yet. That being said, it would be pretty shocking if it wasn’t Hurts. When a coach declines to say his usual starter will be out there the next week, he almost always ends up getting replaced during the week. With more than $50MM in guaranteed money still coming his way over the next couple years, it’s anyone’s guess what the Eagles will do with Wentz, who leads the league in interceptions with 15.
  • Philip Rivers led the Colts to their eighth win of the season Sunday, beating the Texans and moving back into a tie for first place in the AFC South. But although he’ll continue to play, Rivers is apparently dealing with a very significant injury. The veteran passer is dealing with a “plantar plate rupture” in his foot, which can essentially be described as a really bad case of turf toe, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link). Rapoport adds that it’s bad enough that Rivers will need surgery after the season to fix it. It sounds like the kind of injury that could sideline some players, but not the Iron Man Rivers. Incredibly, the signal-caller has never missed a start since taking over the Chargers’ job all the way back in 2006. Considering he once played a playoff game on a torn ACL, this isn’t too surprising. It didn’t seem to effect him all that much on Sunday, as he carved up Houston for 285 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers.
  • In case you missed it, Titans first-round tackle Isaiah Wilson’s disaster of a rookie season got even worse this weekend when the team suspended him for violating team rules.

AFC Notes: Texans, Rivers, Tua, Bolles, Jets

Following the trade deadline, Deshaun Watson revealed how much of an issue a Will Fuller trade would have caused for him. Now, the Texans quarterback does not want Week 12 to have been his final game throwing to the deep threat. Despite Fuller’s six-game PED suspension set to drag into next year, Watson wants the Texans to bring back the impending free agent.

That’s very important,” Watson said of the Texans re-signing Fuller, via ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop. “That’s definitely one guy that I’m going to be working on this last month and offseason, for sure. Will’s my brother. The whole organization knows that tooAnd you know, make sure that we get him back for next year, especially in this organization.”

A 2016 first-round pick, Fuller has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He did in his contract year and was on pace to venture well into four-digit yardage territory. The 26-year-old receiver finished his shortened season with 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns — all career-high numbers — and will be one of the top free agents in 2021. The Texans will have exclusive negotiating rights with Fuller until the legal tampering period begins in mid-March.

Here is the latest from the AFC, shifting first to Houston’s Week 13 opponent:

  • Philip Rivers has not missed a game due to injury as a pro, having made 235 straight starts since the Chargers let Drew Brees defect to the Saints in 2006. But Rivers appeared on the Colts‘ injury report this week, being reduced to a limited practice Thursday because of a toe malady. Praising Rivers’ toughness, Quenton Nelson revealed (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson and Jim Ayello) the 17th-year quarterback is playing through a “really bad” foot problem presently. Rivers said he has no concerns about being able to play in Week 13.
  • Also expecting to play Sunday: Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa. After Brian Flores said Tagovailoa was “very close” to being able to play against the Jets, the first-round passer expects to start this weekend against the Bengals, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald notes. Although Tua struggled in Denver and was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick, Flores said the job is the rookie’s when he is medically cleared. Tagovailoa has been limited in both Miami practices this week.
  • Garett Bolles‘ belated breakout resulted in a big payday from the Broncos, who went from not picking up the once-embattled left tackle’s fifth-year option to signing him to a four-year, $68MM deal. That contract contains $38MM guaranteed and $21MM fully guaranteed over the first two years, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Although the $17MM-per-year figure places Bolles as the NFL’s sixth-highest-paid tackle, the full guarantee is more in line with his uneven performance through three-plus seasons. That number ranks 20th among tackles and comes in $43MM south of what the Ravens recently gave Ronnie Stanley in full guarantees.
  • More weirdness out of New York. Jets guard starter Alex Lewis did not play against the Dolphins last week, and Adam Gase said the absence was not injury-related. This may stem from a dustup between Lewis and Gase. The second-year Jets HC indicated the two had a “conversation” but stopped short of calling it a verbal altercation, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes (Twitter links). Gase did not confirm if Lewis will return in Week 13. A 2019 trade acquisition, Lewis signed a three-year deal to return to the Jets in March.

Colts Notes: Hines, Rivers, Buckner, DL

Even after drafting Jonathan Taylor in the second round to pair with Marlon Mack, the Colts say Nyheim Hines will continue to enjoy a meaningful role in the offense. Ideally, Hines says he’d also like to make a dent in the return game.

I’d love to do punt and kick returns again,” Hines said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star). “But I’ve got to go out there and earn both of the jobs. That’s what I plan on doing. I’d like to start at both of them.”

Hines made a strong case for the job last year, tallying the third-highest punt-return yardage total in the league in just nine attempts. Still, he’ll have to vie with fellow speedsters Parris Campbell and Isaiah Rodgers for the gig this summer.

More from Indy:

  • Philip Rivers has arrived in Indianapolis and has taken the lead role in organizing players-only workouts in the area, Stephen Holder of The Athletic notes (subscription required). These workouts are expected to take place next week. Players are not expected to be back at their teams’ facilities until training camp, though some momentum may be building to an earlier arrival.
  • Speaking of Rivers, his transition to the Colts will be easier than other relocating quarterbacks’ adjustments to their respective teams. While Tom Brady is learning a system that differs considerably from his Patriots setup, the Colts will use use essentially “the exact same system” as the one the Chargers used when Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni coached Rivers out west, Colts quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady said (via Colts.com’s Andrew Walker). They have installed roughly 90% of their offense already.
  • The biggest name on Indianapolis’ defense, however, profiled as a fairly unknown commodity to the team’s defensive line coach. New Colts D-line coach Brian Baker spent the past four years as a college coach, working with Mississippi State and Alabama, but will now coach Pro Bowler DeForest Buckner. Baker evidently did not catch many 49ers games during that time. “I’ve been away from it for a while, and I didn’t really know who DeForest was,” Baker said, via Walker. “My energy was focusing on college players and recruiting. So I didn’t know who he was, and I’m like, ‘Who’s the big ‘ol 99? This dude can play. And I’m like, ‘Man, it’d be great …’ and you end up looking, ‘OK, DeForest Buckner,‘ like, ‘Man, it’d be good to get this guy.'”
  • Buckner and Justin Houston will start for the Colts up front. But after that, competitions will commence to see who joins them, Baker added. Third-year defensive end Kemoko Turay appears to be the leading candidate to work opposite Houston. A starter at defensive tackle the past two years, Denico Autry will face off against ex-49ers starter Sheldon Day and third-year player Tyquan Lewis for the job alongside Buckner.