Philip Rivers

Jets Have Contacted Only Chad Henne, Colt McCoy; Latest On Aaron Rodgers’ Recovery

The Jets are 1-1 and reeling from Aaron RodgersAchilles injury, which ended the future Hall of Famer’s season after four snaps and thrust Zach Wilson back into the starting lineup. We heard in the immediate aftermath of the Rodgers news that New York was exploring the free agent market for veteran passers and had inquired on retired QB Chad Henne.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic (subscription required) confirms that the Jets have indeed reached out to Henne, who has rebuffed their overtures. “The timing doesn’t work,” Henne said.

Gang Green has also contacted Colt McCoy, who was released by the Cardinals on cutdown day and who was mentioned as a possible Jets target several days ago. McCoy, 37, indicated that he has several offers in hand and expects to sign with a club shortly. He had been dealing with an elbow injury, though he should be ready to play this week.

The Jets told both Henne and McCoy that if they were to sign with the team, they would be doing so with the understanding that Wilson is the starter. As a team source told Russini, “[w]e have Zach. Zach Wilson is our best option.” 

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was pleased with what Wilson was able to do when he was forced to enter the team’s Week 1 contest against the Bills in relief of Rodgers, and Hackett was also impressed by the progress Wilson made throughout the spring and summer. Wilson appears to have earned the trust of the locker room, with another team source telling Russini that Wilson’s character is “off the charts.” The team has changed “about half of the game plan” to play to Wilson’s strengths, including an overall simplification of the offense.

The organizational view on Wilson explains why, as Russini reports, the Jets have no plans to pursue a more accomplished signal-caller like Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, or Joe Flacco (Blake Bortles is reportedly not under consideration either). As Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of report, Brady’s purchase of a stake in the Raiders is not yet finalized and is unlikely to be finalized until October at the earliest. Until then, Brady can techincally sign with any team he chooses, but as we noted previously, he continues to insist that he will remain retired.

Rich Cimini of suggests that the Jets, who have the league’s most difficult strength of schedule over the next five games, could reassess the situation over their Week 7 bye. If they are still in playoff position but feel Wilson is holding them back, they could expand their QB search at that time.

Rodgers, of course, has not closed the door on an in-season return. The reason for such optimism, as Rapoport and Pelissero explain in a separate piece, is that Rodgers underwent an innovative surgery to accelerate the rehabilitation process.

The duo, building on an earlier report from Russini and The Athletic colleague Jourdan Rodrigue (subscription required), say that a type of internal brace called a “speed bridge” was placed on Rodgers’ torn Achilles. The procedure, which was performed by well-known orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, could allow Rodgers to be back on the field right around the time the postseason begins.

The procedure does involve risk, but Rodgers determined that the possibility of helping his new club make a playoff run this season was worth taking a chance. The 39-year-old (40 in December) could also receive platelet-rich plasma injections to move his recovery along.

49ers Notes: Rivers, Williams, Darnold

Had the 49ers beaten the Eagles in the NFC championship game, there’s a good chance Philip Rivers would have been under center for the team during the Super Bowl. Kyle Shanahan confirmed as much today, saying the organization planned to sign the retired quarterback had they won that game (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).

Despite having not seen the field since the 2020 campaign, the 41-year-old quarterback was in the team’s contingency plan towards the end of the postseason. With Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance out of the picture, the 49ers rolled into the NFC championship game with Josh Johnson as the top backup to Brock Purdy. Both Purdy and Johnson were injured in that contest, and that would have forced the team into figuring out a fifth option at the position.

“(Rivers) was prepared to (play),” said Shanahan. “It’s stuff we talked about through the whole year. We would have seen how that was for the Super Bowl. That was the plan for most of the year.”

As Branch notes, Ben Roethlisberger admitted that the 49ers had reached out to him about joining the team, but the quarterback wanted to stay retired. Rivers, however, sounds like he was willing to return to the field for a chance at a Super Bowl ring.

When we last saw the long-time Chargers QB, he was manning the position for the Colts, guiding the team to an 11-5 record while tossing 24 touchdowns vs. 11 interceptions. Since calling it a career following that 2020 campaign, Rivers has served as a high school football coach in Fairhope, Alabama.

More notes out of San Francisco…

  • 49ers wideout and return man Ray-Ray McCloud broke his wrist at practice earlier this week, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (on Twitter). The 26-year-old will undergo surgery and will likely miss the first two months of the season. McCloud joined the 49ers last year, and he finished the season averaging 23 yards per kick return and 10.8 yards per punt return. He also added 14 receptions and a touchdown on offense. As Barrows notes, Ronnie Bell, Willie Snead, and D’Shawn Jamison will be competing to take over the ST snaps with McCloud sidelined.
  • Trent Williams is entering his 13th NFL season, including his fourth with the 49ers. While 2023 will mark the lineman’s age-35 campaign, Williams doesn’t have any thoughts of hanging up his cleats. “No I don’t. Because I still feel the same,” Williams told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. “Every year, I come back and I’m literally on the edge of my seat until that first practice, because I just don’t know. I can train as hard as I want and feel good, but I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of guys fall off, hit that wall, and I just don’t know when it’s coming. So I kind of go in scared in a sense, and as soon as I get out and move around I feel like, ‘All right. This year I’m good. I haven’t started slowing down yet.’ At the end of the day, I’m 35. I understand I don’t have another 10 years. But what’s the point of thinking about when it’s going to stop? It doesn’t help. I think once it’s time, it’s time, and you will know. But for me, just because I’m 35, I don’t think I should be thinking about retiring.”
  • Shanahan told reporters that the 49ers had interest in Sam Darnold during the early stages of their 2018 draft evaluation (via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner and Jeremy Fowler). The organization ended up trading for Garoppolo during the 2017 campaign, and Darnold went third-overall to the Jets in the following year’s draft. The 49ers were eager to bring the now-veteran QB on board this offseason, and the organization is convinced that Darnold was previously “harmed more by his circumstances than his ability.” Darnold was also eager to join an organization that could maximize his skills. “Being in a really good organization was a priority for me,” Darnold told reporters. “Being with really good coaches and really good personnel as well. Those were kind of the top things.”
  • The 49ers announced a number of front office changes, including the promotion of Jeff Diamond to Senior Manager, Salary Cap and Hayden Frey and Crowley Hanlon to area scouts. The organization also officially announced the addition of Frank Gore to the front office, with the former running back earning the title of Football Personnel Advisor.

Colts Rumors: Saturday, Ryan, Fields, Rivers

The Colts made headlines on Monday when the team decided to fire head coach Frank Reich, naming former center Jeff Saturday the interim head coach for the rest of the year. The decision to appoint Saturday drew widespread surprise as Saturday has no former NFL coaching experience.

Team owner Jim Irsay defended the decision even claiming that Saturday could remain head coach beyond the 2022-23 NFL season, according to ESPN’s Stephen Holder. General manager Chris Ballard claimed that the Colts attempted to bring Saturday into the league coaching circle in 2019 as an offensive line coach and approached him about a position this year, as well. Saturday has reportedly served as a consultant for the team, with Irsay contacting him as recently as Sunday during the team’s loss to the Patriots to inquire about blocking issues, according to Zak Keefer of The Athletic.

Here are a few other rumors concerning the Colts:

  • In response to former Colts head coach Tony Dungy‘s recent accusations that the team benched starting quarterback Matt Ryan in order to stay within the boundaries of an injury guarantee in Ryan’s contract, Irsay attempted to set the record straight, according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Irsay insisted that there are no playing time guarantees in Ryan’s contract. “There’s no such thing,” Irsay claimed. “There’s no bonus if Matt plays a certain amount of time.” If such an incentive does exist, it has not been reported.
  • Mishandling the revolving door of quarterbacks in Indianapolis was a factor that led to Reich’s dismissal, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Breer posits that, instead of going after former quarterback Carson Wentz, the team should have moved up to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, something he reports “was a very real consideration for Ballard and Reich early in the process.” The team instead selected Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye, allowing the Bears the opportunity to move up and select Fields. The Colts would later trade Wentz away to Washington after one season.
  • One of the other quarterback situations that didn’t work out in the long run for Indianapolis was the signing of Philip Rivers in 2020. According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Ballard signed Rivers expecting the veteran to lead the team’s offense for multiple years. Although Rivers did take the Colts to the playoffs, he retired after one season with the team, leading the Colts to make more moves for Wentz and, eventually, Ryan in the years to follow.

Colts Reached Out To Philip Rivers

The NFL revising its COVID-19 protocols yet again may allow the Colts to dodge a bullet. Carson Wentz is unvaccinated and tested positive Tuesday, but Frank Reich said he would start Sunday if he is asymptomatic, Stephen Holder of The Athletic tweets. Current Colts backup Sam Ehlinger would start if Wentz is experiencing symptoms at that point.

Reich has also remained in contact with the Colts’ 2020 starter, Philip Rivers. The two discussed the current Colts QB bind, Zak Keefer of The Athletic tweets. However, it does not seem like Rivers will come out of retirement to replace Wentz. Reich said nothing is developing on that front.

Rivers, 40, retired after spending last season with the Colts, but the current high school coach has said he would consider a return to join a contender. He was open to joining the Saints once Jameis Winston went down earlier this season. In his one Colts season, Rivers completed 68% of his passes and finished with a 24-to-11 TD-INT ratio. The Colts traded for Wentz not long after Rivers’ retirement.

Had the NFL not revised its protocols for a second time this month, Wentz would be shut down for Week 17 due to his positive test. Previously, unvaccinated players who tested positive were forced into 10-day quarantines. The NFL has reduced that to five, opening the door for Wentz to play Sunday. A sixth-round rookie, Ehlinger took first-team reps for a stretch after Wentz went down with a foot injury during training camp.

The Colts received more good news regarding their COVID-19 situation Wednesday. They activated offensive line starters Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski, along with cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and defensive end Kemoko Turay. However, right tackle Braden Smith is now on Indianapolis’ virus list. Smith could rejoin his teammates Sunday, however, regardless of vaccination status. Like Wentz, if Smith is not displaying symptoms, he could return Sunday against the Raiders. Smith was the Colts’ lone O-line starter available by the end of Week 16, but the team will have more of its starters on hand against Las Vegas.

Marlon Mack, cornerback T.J. Carrie, safety Jahleel Addae and linebacker Malik Jefferson join Smith as players now on Indy’s virus list.

Philip Rivers Open To Joining Saints

If the Saints call, Philip Rivers says he’ll pick up the phone (Twitter link via Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times). The former Chargers and Colts quarterback hasn’t heard from Sean Payton & Co. yet, but he’s at least open to coming out of retirement. 

Rivers announced his retirement back in January, choosing to coach high school football rather than return for an 18th NFL season. However, the 39-year-old (40 in December) did say that he would stay in shape in case he had a change of heart in October or November.

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

Rivers spent 16 years with the Chargers before spending the 2020 season with the Colts. All in all, the former No. 4 overall pick tallied 63,440 yards, 421 touchdowns, and nine Pro Bowl nods. He could, in theory, add to those totals with the Saints, but it’s not clear if the interest is mutual.

For now, the Saints are prepared to move forward with some combination of Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill under center. Free agent Cam Newton is not under consideration and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees has already said that he’s not coming out of retirement.

Even without Winston, Siemian and the Saints still managed to beat the Bucs 36-27 on Sunday. Now at 5-2 on the year, it remains to be seen whether they’ll give Rivers a ring.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.