Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement left the Colts without a franchise quarterback for the first time since 1997, the year before the franchise selected Peyton Manning with the first overall pick. And while Jacoby Brissett showed promise in place of Luck last season, the Colts could reportedly be interested in bringing a future Hall of Fame quarterback to Indianapolis.
NFL executives, via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, believe that the Colts would explore the option of bringing in Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers if he and the Chargers part ways this offseason. The reasoning is based on Rivers’ past history with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach during the 2013 season. That season, Rivers led the NFL with a 69.5 completion percentage, the highest of his career. Along with throwing for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns that season, Rivers also took care of the football, throwing just 11 interceptions that year while earning Pro Bowl honors.
While the question of where he’ll play in 2020 lingers, Rivers, who has spent his entire 16-year career with the Chargers’ organization, did eliminate any thought that he may retire during his postgame press conference of the 2019 season.
“I plan to play football, so yes,” Rivers said Sunday when he was asked if he would consider playing for another team, via ESPN’s Eric D. Williams. “Where that is going to be will get sorted out over the next few months. I’ve never been in this position. I don’t even know when the league year starts. We’ll just kind of see. I’m very thankful for the 16 years, and if there is another, I’ll be thankful for that.”
Turnovers plagued Rivers and the Chargers in 2019. While he completed 66% of his passes and threw for 4,615 yards and 23 touchdowns, Rivers also threw 20 interceptions, with many of those picks contributing to the Chargers’ 5-11 record. Those turnovers also loomed large in making the Chargers 2-10 in games that were decided by seven points or less.
Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ coach since the 2017 season, said that he wants Rivers back with the team following Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs.
“Who wouldn’t want a guy with those intangibles and that production?” Lynn said. “Sure, but I have a lot of guys to look at, not just Phil. And it’s early right now in that process. But I love what he represents and what he stands for.”
In Indianapolis, Rivers would join a Colts team that started 5-2 before injuries played a large role in Indianapolis’ 2-7 finish to the 2019 season. And while the offense didn’t help matters (the Colts scored 20 or fewer points five times over that span), the Colts’ defense struggled mightily down the stretch, allowing at least 31 points in four of the team’s final five games.
On the plus side, Rivers would be joining a team that is just one year removed from winning 10 regular season games before upsetting the Texans in the wild-card round. While the Colts are obviously not a finished product, adding a future Hall of Fame quarterback would certainly make the team an early favorite to compete for the AFC South division title.