INDIANAPOLIS – Philip Rivers’ relationship with the Indianapolis Colts was one-and-done.
The future Hall of Fame quarterback has decided to retire after 17 prolific seasons, the final one in Indy. Rivers first informed the San Diego Union-Tribune of his decision.
“It’s just time,’’ Rivers told the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee. “It’s just right.’’
Rivers subsequently issued a statement:
Every year, January 20th is a special and emotional day. It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL.
I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.
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!
Thanks to the fans in San Diego and around the nation that both cheered and booed.
Special thanks to my teammates. Without a doubt my favorite part of the game, being a teammate. Thank you for being mine.
Lastly, thank you to my wife and best friend Tiffany, and our children Halle, Caroline, Grace, Gunner, Sarah, Peter, Rebecca, Clare, and Anna. Could not have done it without y’all’s unwavering support.
As my playing career comes to an end , the next chapter begins.
After the Colts’ season ended with the 27-24 loss to the Buffalo Bills in a Wild Card Playoff game, Rivers said he prayed over whether to return and take time before making the decision.
Rivers and general manager Chris Ballard met for an hour last week, and it was emotional, according to Ballard. He indicated he and Rivers would meet again in a month to discussion Rivers’ future.
That future is now, and suddenly the Colts are in the market for a starting quarterback. The only quarterback under contract for 2021 is Jacob Eason, who did not step on the field as a rookie. Backup Jacoby Brissett will be a free agent in March.
Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million contract with the Colts last March following 16 decorated seasons with the Chargers.
In his first – and only – season in Indy, Rivers was instrumental in the team posting an 11-5 record and earning a Wild Card berth. He finished with 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 95.9 passer rating.
Without Rivers, the Colts’ clearest option at filling his void is the April NFL draft. They hold the 21st overall pick, but Ballard indicated last week he didn’t believe a viable prospect would be available at that spot in the draft.
Rivers will retire in Alabama, where he’ll take over as the head football coach at St. Michael High in Fairhope.
Statement from Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay:
Without question, Philip Rivers is one of the greatest, and no doubt one of the toughest, players to ever play this game. For 16 years wearing Chargers blue, Philip gave the Colts fits, but he was a wonder to watch because of his skill at the quarterback position, as well as his undeniable love for the game. Even though he wore the Horseshoe for only one season, it was a season to remember, and we were fortunate to have his leadership and passion in our building for this part of our climb. We wish Philip the best in his retirement, and we will join fans in San Diego and Los Angeles in saluting him as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday soon.JIM IRSAY, COLTS OWNER & CEO
Statement from Colts General Manager Chris Ballard:
Philip Rivers made lasting impressions with every teammate and coach he competed with over the course of his 17 NFL seasons. I can’t overstate the importance of Philip’s leadership for us both on and off the field this past season. In one of the more unique years this league has seen, Philip’s veteran presence guided our team and played a major role in helping us reach the postseason. I’m not only appreciative of Philip’s contribution to the Colts in 2020, but the impact he made in the NFL and in the game of football during his career. He leaves the game with Hall of Fame success in multiple areas. We wish Philip, Tiffany and his family all the best moving forward.CHRIS BALLARD, COLTS GENERAL MANAGER
Statement from Colts Head Coach Frank Reich:
Philip is one of the fiercest competitors and most loyal teammates that our game has ever seen. His unwavering conviction as a leader and elite intelligence contributed to his Hall of Fame football career. Philip made our game better and the National Football League was fortunate to have him. I wish Philip, Tiffany and the entire Rivers family the best and thank them for their contributions to our organization and community. I am anxious to see Philip trade his helmet for the headset and do what he’s always done best – bring his passion to the game of football and make others better.FRANK REICH, COLTS HEAD COACH