Current Indianapolis Colt and eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers plans after the NFL? Coaching a private Catholic high school’s football team.
St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama held a press conference Friday morning to announce that Rivers will be taking over as the school’s head coach after he retires from the NFL, according to AL.com.
For a QB that many consider to be NFL Hall of Fame worthy, the decision to coach at a private high school may be surprising. But the 16-year NFL QB talked about how he was influenced by his father, who was also a high school coach.
“It’s a special day for me and my family really,” Rivers said. “I will probably get a little emotional. I had two childhood dreams. One was to play in the NFL, and I’m now going into my 17th season. The other was to be a high school football coach as my dad was. How blessed am I to be able to live both of those out!”
It’s not unheard of for retiring NFL players to get into coaching, but their first jobs aren’t typically high schools in Alabama.
Rivers Back to His Roots
Before his days as a Los Angeles Charger, Rivers was raised in Decatur, Alabama, where his father was the head coach of the Decatur High School football team.
He earned his first start for the varsity team in seventh grade, before eventually moving with his dad to Athens, Alabama after he took the head coaching job of their program.
After high school, Rivers went to North Carolina State, playing for head coach Chuck Amato and taking his status as a young, talented QB to a genuine NFL prospect as he threw for 13,484 yards and 95 touchdowns in his four-year career with the Wolfpack.
After being selected by the Chargers with the fourth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft, Rivers’ career has spoke for itself. But now that the Alabama-born legend isn’t living on the West Coast, setting up a return to his home state is a possibility.
“My dad was my high school football coach, so I want to coach my boys and I want to coach young boys down the road, so I do know what’s next when my playing time’s over, so we did talk about it a little bit,” he said. “I think really where we settled in was: I still love to play. Certainly not coming off my best year, but in a year where I still know I can play at a high level. I did it in spurts. I just didn’t do it consistently enough. And I love it, and, shoot, it was one of those deals where we said, ‘Well, if there’s nothing else out there, then that’ll be our answer.’ We kind of said, ‘Whatever God wants, so if there’s nothing out there, I don’t want to just try to hang on to play. If nothing’s out there, shoot, we’ll start coaching.’”
When is Rivers Retiring?
This announcement prompted many to ask when Rivers is thinking he’ll retire, but the Colts’ new QB says he plans to take it one game at a time.
“I think it is a one year at a time deal,” he said. “You get to 38 and play as long as I have … I’ve expressed publicly and the Colts have said too they hope it’s more than one year. But we take it one year at a time. I love playing. When that time does end, you will get the same passion and work ethic at this school and community that I’ve poured into my career.”
Rivers is coming off his worst season in touchdown-to-interception ratio(23-20) and posted a 88.5 QB rating, his worst since the 2012 season.
Entering his 17th season, it makes total sense that Rivers is probably thinking he has just a couple seasons left in the league. As he turns 39 this December, there’s a very real chance that Rivers will hit the age of 40 before he retires.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.