Quarterback Philip Rivers is retiring after 17 seasons in the NFL, he announced Wednesday.
“It’s just time,” he told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s just right.”
Rivers, who turned 39 in December, spent all but one of his professional seasons playing for the Chargers — first the San Diego Chargers, and then the Los Angeles Chargers — and played his final season for the Indianapolis Colts.
“This is the first year I felt like the ending was real,” he said. “We talked about it other years, but we knew we weren’t doing it. This year felt different. … It just seemed right.”
In the statement he released to ESPN, Rivers showed that he was leaving the NFL the same way he came in: being unapologetically himself.
Philip Rivers’ statement to ESPN is dadgum tremendous: pic.twitter.com/30KaEFGy0X
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 20, 2021
Rivers has amassed some impressive stats over his 17 seasons. He played 244 regular-season games, and the past 240 of them were played consecutively. He’s fifth all time in completions (5,277), passing yards (63,440), and passing touchdowns (421). He was named to the Pro Bowl eight times, and played in 12 playoff games though he never made it to a Super Bowl.
One of his best-known (and most amazing) feats came in January 2008. He tore his right ACL and meniscus in the divisional round of the playoffs, but played through it against the New England Patriots just six days later in the conference championship game. The Chargers lost, but Rivers’ toughness and dedication became legendary.
Philip Rivers was a starting quarterback for 15 seasons and never missed a game during that stretch. 240 consecutive starts.
He tore his ACL in the '07 Divisional Round and still played in the Championship Game vs. the #Patriots. A true competitor.pic.twitter.com/fTS6zlvDyM
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 20, 2021
What will Rivers do now?
Rivers already has his next job lined up. He’ll be coaching high school football at St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama, which was announced last May. The job was his whenever he was ready to retire, and that time has finally come.
“What has helped me come to this [decision] is the growing desire to coach high school football,” he said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been growing. I can’t wait.”
Rivers is an Alabama native, and his father was a high school football coach. He told the Union-Tribune last May that his two childhood dreams were to play in the NFL and follow in his father’s footsteps as a high school coach. After 17 years accomplishing the first dream, now he’ll get to realize the second.
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