Philip Rivers

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.

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.

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.

 

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.