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Philip Rivers Retires from NFL After 17 Seasons with Chargers, Colts

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2021

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers warms up before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

One of the best quarterbacks of his generation is hanging up his cleats.    

Indianapolis Colts signal-caller Philip Rivers announced that he is retiring following 17 seasons in the NFL. The San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers legend played his final year in Indianapolis and led the Colts to the playoffs, but he is still calling it quits at 39 years old.

"It's just time," Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday night. "It's just right."

Rivers also issued a statement to ESPN on his retirement, via Adam Schefter:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Philip Rivers’ statement to ESPN is dadgum tremendous: https://t.co/30KaEFGy0X

This comes after Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported in January that Rivers would decide between retiring and returning to the Colts after moving his family to Indianapolis.

"I talked to people close to him," he said. "It sounds like it is up in the air, but retirement is very real."

Rivers will now become the head football coach at St. Michael Catholic High School, a move that was announced last May and would go into effect upon his eventual retirement, per Acee.

Rivers entered the league as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft but did not become the starter for the Chargers until his third season.

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He wasted little time establishing himself as a playmaker and threw for 3,388 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. It was the first of what would eventually be 15 straight seasons with more than 3,000 passing yards, 12 of which would see him throw for more than 4,000 yards. 

In all, Rivers completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 63,440 yards, 421 touchdowns and 209 interceptions. He is fifth on the all-time list in both passing yards and touchdowns.

The North Carolina State product is an eight-time Pro Bowler who led the league in passing yards (4,710) in 2010 and passing touchdowns (34) in 2008. He also reached the playoffs seven times but never made it to an elusive Super Bowl.

Ultimately, that may be what defines him in the eyes of some fans, especially when compared to other quarterbacks of his era such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.

Still, he never hesitated to attack downfield, could fit throws into tight windows throughout his career and was still effective in his final season for a playoff team.

The end result is one of the most productive careers in NFL history and a surefire spot waiting for him in the Hall of Fame.

His next stop is serving as head coach of the St. Michael Catholic High School football team in Fairhope, Alabama.

"I can sit here and say: 'I can still throw it. I love to play,'" Rivers told Acee. "But that’s always going to be there. I’m excited to go coach high school football."

The Alabama native is heading home.    

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