When last we saw Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, he was misfiring badly on eight straight throws with a game versus the Raiders on the line, one of which incompletions was wiped out by a defensive penalty. Instantly, an overpowering sense emerged that Rivers was embarking on his final stretch of games with the only team for which he has played.
Earlier this week, Rivers reiterated his desire to continue to play for the Chargers when the move into their swanky new stadium in Inglewood next season.
“I think that is my desire,” Rivers said, via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com. “But I do think that it only seems right to say, ‘All right, let’s take a deep breath and regroup.’ I kept saying, a couple years, a couple years or a handful, and then I went to the ‘one year at a time.’ And I think that’s where it is, and that only makes sense when your contract is up and you’re going to be 38 here in a few weeks.”
Rivers officially becomes two years shy of 40 on December 8.
“I’m just going to have kind of a self- and family-evaluation of it all, and also know that it’s not solely my decision. If you would’ve asked me and I had two years left [on a contract], I would say, ‘Of course I’m going to play.’ I’m not turning in on them, you know what I mean? So I think it only makes sense. I don’t think this is breaking news, but I think that’s the prudent thing to do and the most reasonable thing. But my intention certainly is to be playing in 2020.”
The Chargers have significant say in whether Rivers returns. Although, as Williams notes, G.M. Tom Telesco said earlier this year that Rivers will be back, it would be foolish for the Chargers to not explore all options, especially as they struggle to establish a foothold in L.A. The Rams consistently have made personnel decisions with both substance and style in mind, and they’ve developed a team that both contends and compels. The Chargers need to begin building their team with an eye toward whether and to what extent a given player will move the needle in a city that remains largely fickle and fractured when it comes to NFL loyalties.
So whether it’s Cam Newton or Tom Brady or a trade up for a rookie with sizzle or whoever, the Chargers need to make entertainment value a factor in the broader decision regarding whether No. 17 should return for a seventeenth season.