Philip Rivers Comments on Retirement, Chargers' Rebuilding Effort

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2016

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers passes against the Denver Broncos during the second half in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers delivered another strong statistical season in 2015, but the 34-year-old signal-caller admitted he entertained thoughts that the 2014 campaign could have been his last.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the five-time Pro Bowler had some doubts about his ability to play in 2015 after taking a physical beating throughout the previous season:

Physically, last year, I didn't know if I was going to play. I mean really, physically, I was like, 'I may not even play football anymore.' This year, physically, I'm great. Emotionally, it's been rough, but I'm excited—I really am excited about who the new core is going to be. I'm excited to be part of that group. I'm waiting for it, kind of letting them take it. ... It's not going to be the buddies I came with; they're going to be gone.

The Bolts struggled to a 4-12 mark in 2015, but Rivers certainly held up his end of the bargain by completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 4,792 yards, 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That earned him a Pro Bowl invite, which he ultimately declined.

Despite the fact that San Diego needs to improve by at least five games in order to entertain the possibility of making the playoffs in 2016, Rivers doesn't believe the team is far off from making that a reality: "But I am excited about the group because they care. If you don't have that characteristic, forget it. I know they care, and they're pretty dang good football players, so let's go. Let's get healthy. Let's add a few pieces and let's go."

After a great deal of apprehension previously, Rivers agreed to a four-year contract extension this past offseason.

Rivers admitted that a potential relocation of the franchise led to his reluctance, but he eventually decided to lock himself in even though a move to Los Angeles is still a real possibility.

Regardless of where the Chargers play in 2016 and beyond, they have one of the NFL's top quarterbacks at their disposal, and they cannot afford to waste the productive years he has remaining.

Most teams would probably go through a lengthy rebuilding process after winning just four games, but San Diego has a win-now situation at quarterback, which is why there is immense pressure to connect with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft and make a splash in free agency as well.


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