Jan 9, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) looks to throw a pass in the second quarter wildcard playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Rivers not ruling out late-season return to NFL

Philip Rivers is about to embark on his first season as a high school head coach in Alabama but the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback isn’t ruling out a return to the NFL later this season.

The 39-year-old Rivers retired seven months ago after 17 stellar NFL seasons, but he told the Los Angeles Times that he isn’t closing the door on playing this season.

“I’m just going to stay ready,” Rivers said. “I want to make sure I’m very clear: I’m not predicting I will play in December or January, for that matter. One, you’ve got to have somebody who wants you, and two, it’s got to be right.

“But I have not completely ruled that out.”

Conditioning might be an issue with Rivers not part of an NFL training camp. He indicated that he isn’t currently in playing shape.

“I’m not quite there,” Rivers said. “I’m getting back there. I wouldn’t have made weight if I had to report (to training camp) last week, that’s for sure. But I am getting back into the lifting and running, and shoot, I occasionally throw a ball around out here in this heat. It’s not too hard to get a good lather going.”

Rivers is coaching St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Ala., while the Indianapolis Colts, his team last season, have an unstable quarterback situation.

Carson Wentz, the quarterback acquired to replace Rivers as the starter, is slated to miss up to 12 weeks after undergoing foot surgery. Unproven Jacob Eason may be the team’s Week 1 starter.

Rivers recorded 4,169 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes while playing through a nagging toe injury in 2020. He led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth, but the Buffalo Bills edged the Colts 27-24 in the wild-card round.

Rivers spent the first 16 seasons of his career with the Chargers — 13 seasons in San Diego, three in Los Angeles. He has a Hall of Fame resume by ranking fifth on the all-time passing list with 63,440 yards, behind Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, and fifth in career TD passes with 421 behind Brady, Brees, Manning and Favre.

–Field Level Media

Aug 24, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck says goodbye to Colts owner Jim Irsay after announcing his retirement in a press conference after the game against the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Colts owner Jim Irsay would ‘love’ Andrew Luck at QB

In a perfect world, Andrew Luck would be the answer to the Colts’ questions at quarterback. But owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday that Indianapolis understands that will not be an option in 2021.

Irsay quipped on Wednesday that he plans to frequently check his fax machine, a reference to the way Michael Jordan announced his return to basketball from a brief baseball-motivated retirement.

“I really think it kind of stands where it stands,” Irsay said. “I think, like I’ve said before, Andrew’s retired.”

Luck, 31, was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft. He retired during the 2019 preseason and has recently told friends, including just-retired Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo, he’s loving life as a dad.

“He knows how much we’d love to have him be our quarterback, there’s just no question about that,” Irsay said. “But at the same time, we know for it to work out, he has to be the one that says, ‘You know what? I’m ready. I want to really create a little bit of history, in unprecedented aspects.”

Irsay said the Colts will embrace the “opportunity” to get better at quarterback and has already met for hours with coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard about finding Philip Rivers’ replacement this offseason. Rivers retired last week after one season with the Colts, who went 11-5 and reached an AFC wild-card game.

The next starting quarterback for the Colts will be the team’s fourth in as many seasons, barring Luck’s return or the Colts choosing to give Jacoby Brissett another shot as No. 1.

Irsay said he believes the Colts are “close” to being title contenders.

They are being linked to veteran quarterbacks who could be on the trade market this offseason such as Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions.

But Irsay doesn’t think Luck will turn out to be the answer this time. He does sound willing to be wrong.

“I think he’s happy, he’s raising his daughter, he has a wonderful family,” Irsay said. “He’s a great Colt and he knows that he can come back any time he wants, but at the same time, we respect that he’s made that decision.”

Luck, the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick by the Colts in 2012 out of Stanford, went 53-33 as a starter over six seasons in Indianapolis. He threw for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions. His 40 TD passes in 2014 led the NFL. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times, including in his final season of 2018.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) looks on prior to a AFC Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Colts QB Philip Rivers retires after 17 seasons

Philip Rivers retired from the NFL after 17 seasons on Wednesday.

Rivers, the No. 4 pick in the 2004 draft in a class with Eli Manning and Ben Roethsliberger, played 16 seasons with the Chargers and the 2020 season with the Indianapolis Colts. The Chargers selected Manning with the No. 1 pick, then swapped him to the New York Giants.

Rivers announced his decision to the San Diego Union-Tribune days after Colts general manager Chris Ballard indicated a move might be coming. While he said he can definitely still play, Rivers said he’s ready for a new chapter — coaching high school football.

“But that’s always going to be there. I’m excited to go coach high school football,” Rivers, 39, said.

He will take over as head coach at St. Michael Catholic High School in his native Alabama.

Rivers joined the Colts on a one-year, $25 million contract last March after 16 outstanding seasons with the Chargers, who reached the playoffs six times during that stretch and advanced to the AFC Championship Game after the 2007 season.

“I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season,” Rivers said in a statement Wednesday. “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!”

Rivers retires at No. 5 on the all-time passing list with 63,440 yards, behind Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, and fifth in career TD passes with 421 behind Brady, Brees, Manning and Favre.

The Hall of Fame company Rivers is surrounded by all won Super Bowls, but Rivers did not.

In 2020, Rivers posted 4,169 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes while playing through a nagging toe injury. He led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth, but the Buffalo Bills edged the Colts 27-24 in the wild-card round.

The Colts are back in the quarterback market due to a retirement for the second time in three years. Andrew Luck abruptly retired in training camp before the 2019 season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass as Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) rushes in the second quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Colts QB Philip Rivers noncommittal on 2021 return

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers left the door open for a possible comeback in 2021 after his team fell on the road at the Buffalo Bills in the AFC wild-card game Saturday.

Rivers, who threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, was asked after the contest whether he had played his last NFL game.

“No, it’s not that easy,” Rivers said in his postgame press conference. “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. 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.”

Rivers, who was drafted fourth overall by the New York Giants and subsequently traded to the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft, has played 17 seasons in the league and accrued some prolific passing numbers.

The 39-year-old has thrown for 63,440 yards and 421 touchdowns in his career to go along with a 95.2 passer rating.

The 63,440 yards is the fifth highest total in NFL history.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) gestures at the line of scrimmage  in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reich: Colts QB Rivers, 39, has ‘multiple years’ left

A youngster compared to elder statesmen Tom Brady and former teammate Drew Brees, Philip Rivers might be multiple seasons from retiring to coach high school football.

That’s the estimation of Colts head coach Frank Reich, who said the 39-year-old Rivers has “multiple years of good football ahead of him.”

Rivers ranks in the top 10 in yards per game (269.8 is ninth) and yards per attempt (7.7, ninth) and is 11th in completion percentage (68.1 percent). The Colts are fifth in the NFL in scoring at 28.6 points per game and ninth in total offense (376.7 yards per game).

“The way he’s playing right now,” Reich said, “we said when we got him here, I said Philip is more than capable (of playing in 2021).”

Rivers signed with Indianapolis as a free agent in March, his first NFL foray in a new uniform since the Chargers landed the North Carolina State quarterback in 2004. At the time, the one-year deal was heralded as a multi-year possibility.

In May, Reich said: “I’m very optimistic it will be a multiple year thing.”

The Colts could have other options, including reuniting Reich with one of his former Philadelphia pupils. Carson Wentz was recently benched by the Eagles and the cap hit is virtually identical for Philadelphia to trade or keep him in 2021. Nick Foles claimed the starting job with the Chicago Bears and is on a multi-year deal but he’s sidelined by yet another injury.

Jacoby Brissett, the Colts’ starter in 2019, is due to hit free agency but likely would be open to coming back as the starting quarterback.

Ultimately, Reich signaled the Colts’ decision at the position might be up to Rivers. Rivers said in his opening press conference with the Colts that he would make a decision on future seasons one year at a time.

“If I feel like I feel right now next year, then I’ll be excited to keep going,” Rivers said in the spring. “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. So, if that gives you a little idea. I’m not going to get carried away. I don’t think you’ll see me in the Tom Brady range. But I am excited and feel like I can still help a football team go win a championship.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws the ball in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Colts QB Rivers ready to roll; DL Buckner out

Philip Rivers’ consecutive starts streak of 234 games will live to see another Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich said Friday that Rivers “looked good” after being held out of practice the past two days as a precaution due to a toe injury.

Rivers hasn’t missed a start since breaking into the lineup as the starter for the then-San Diego Chargers in 2006.

“It’s certainly important to me and I’m thankful that I’ve been healthy enough to be out there,” Rivers said Wednesday, when he didn’t practice but watched Jacoby Brissett work with the first-team offense. “I do think there is something about that availability being there each and every week. I think there is a fine line there. You don’t just try to keep that alive to keep it alive. This isn’t one of those instances.”

The Colts will not have defensive lineman DeForest Buckner this week in a crucial AFC South showdown against the Tennessee Titans. Buckner is out due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Rivers has played through worse — including a torn ACL — in his career.

He signed a one-year deal with the Colts in March and continued his consecutive-games streak through the first 10 games for Indianapolis this season.

Rivers said he understands his injury is nothing in the grand scheme and pushed the focus to the matchup of 7-3 division rivals.

“You think about all the things you could deal with, they sound a little more legit than a toe,” Rivers said. “We’ve all heard of guys that have had different toes that nagged them, and things. Thinking about defensive backs, running backs and all those guys, I can only imagine how tough it was to deal with something. It’s a little different, but thankfully my position there is not a lot of cutting. I’ll be good.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws the ball in the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Colts QB Rivers misses practice with toe injury

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will not practice Wednesday due to a toe injury.

Colts coach Frank Reich said before the team’s workout that Rivers could have practiced, but the team went the cautious route. By sitting Rivers on Wednesday he gets two days off, since there’s no practice on Thanksgiving Day.

“We’re going to play it safe,” Reich said.

Rivers, 38, has a streak of 234 consecutive regular season starts. If he would suffer a setback and miss Sunday’s game against the visiting Tennessee Titans (7-3), the Colts (7-3) would turn to 2019 starter Jacoby Brissett.

Rivers has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,683 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 starts this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in a sideline interview after the win over the Minnesota Vikings after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Colts’ Rivers fires 400th career touchdown pass

Philip Rivers became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 career touchdown passes when he connected with Indianapolis Colts teammate Mo Alie-Cox on a 1-yard scoring pass in the second quarter against the New York Jets on Sunday.

The pass to his tight end on first-and-goal from the Jets 1-yard line gave Indianapolis a 14-7 lead with 14:13 left in the first half.

Rivers is in his first season with the Colts after spending 16 campaigns with the Chargers — the first 13 in San Diego, the last three in Los Angeles.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints entered Sunday as the all-time leader with 550 touchdown passes. Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began the day with 544.

The other players in the 400-touchdown club are Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420).

Rivers also was closing in on becoming the sixth player to reach 60,000 career passing yards. He was 152 yards shy entering the contest.

The same five players have topped 60,000 yards — Brees (77,888), Brady (75,027), Manning (71,940), Favre (71,838) and Marino (61,361).

–Field Level Media