In a recent interview, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers suggested that his team’s Week 17 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars might be his last before he closes the book on his long NFL career.
As quoted by Sports Illustrated, Rivers brought up the possibility of retirement while speaking to Stephen Holder of subscriber-only publication The Athletic, saying that he might hang up his cleats if “things don’t go the way [he wants]” this weekend.
“I guess it’s healthy to have that thought because we’re not guaranteed anything going forward,” the 39-year-old signal-caller added.
In a subsequent Twitter post, Holder clarified that Rivers does not “intend this to be the end” of his 17-year NFL run. He added, however, that the veteran is an “honest guy” who realizes that he is among the league’s oldest players at his position and that the NFL is a “business.”
Currently, the Colts (10-5) are tied with the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South division, following a 28-24 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16. If they end up winning their division, this would give Rivers his eighth career postseason appearance and his first with Indianapolis — a team he joined on a one-year, $25 million free-agent deal after 16 seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers.
As noted by Sports Illustrated, the Colts won’t just have to defeat the Jaguars in order to qualify for the playoffs this season, as the Titans will need to pick up a loss or a tie in their upcoming game against the Houston Texans. Alternately, Indianapolis could qualify as a wild-card team if they beat Jacksonville and the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, or Miami Dolphins lose or tie in Week 17 action.
In a separate story, Bleacher Report pointed out that Rivers had a productive 2020 campaign for the Colts, giving them a reliable option at quarterback after Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement in 2019 and Jacoby Brissett’s “up-and-down” performance as the former No. 1 overall pick’s replacement behind center. This year, Rivers has thrown for 4,005 passing yards, with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and a completion rate of 68.3 percent.
So far, there have been a few names thrown around as potential replacements for Rivers if he decides to retire. Chief among these candidates is Carson Wentz, who had a rough 2020 campaign with the Philadelphia Eagles and was recently replaced by rookie Jalen Hurts as the club’s No. 1 quarterback. As noted by Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd (via The Spun), Wentz had his best years when he was working with Frank Reich, who served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator before joining the Colts as their head coach in 2018.