Philip Rivers won’t return to the Chargers, but he hopes not to follow Eli Manning out the door. At least not yet.
The eight-time Pro Bowler and the Chargers announced in a joint statement announcing Rivers, after 16 seasons, will not return to the team in 2020.
Rivers told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that he wants to continue his career, which is linked with Manning since the two were swapped in a 2004 draft-day trade.
“I do feel I have some emotional fire and passion still left,” Rivers said in a phone conversation with Farmer. “I know I have the passion for the game that I think is going to last my lifetime. And I think I have the ability left to go play at a high level.”
Rivers has moved his family from California to Florida, and two of the three teams in the state — the Buccaneers and Dolphins — have uncertain quarterback situations. Farmer also lists Carolina as a possibility with Cam Newton‘s uncertain future with the team combined with the fact that Rivers played at North Carolina State.
Rivers, 38, is realistic about his future.
“I can say for certain that if I’m playing, it’s a two-year maximum,” Rivers said. “Whoever the suitors are, I think that would be their hope as well. Because you never know how it goes. Shoot, if we stink it up after one year, I’m probably done. If we play really good, they’ll probably want to go again.
“Certainly you want a chance to win a championship, but it’s not just about that. If you told me right now, ‘You’re going to play for two years, and you’re going to be good. But y’all will not win a Super Bowl. Will you still play?’ Heck yeah, I’ll still play.
“So it’s not like it’s a Super Bowl or nothing. But if it’s a team where it’s going to be tough sledding and they’re two years away from even having a chance, and they led the league in most sacks given up or something, then it’s, ‘I don’t think so, guys.’”
For the first time, Rivers enters free agency with an unclear future. He believes he can still play at a high level.
He will have to wait and see what team or teams also feel that way.