Coaching and broadcasting are two of the more popular career paths for NFL quarterbacks to take following retirement. Philip Rivers did the former, coaching high school football in Alabama, during his first year away from the NFL last fall.
But when talking to high school sports reporter Ben Thomas of AL.com, Rivers admitted that in addition to coaching, he continued to prepare in case a team needed him in an emergency last season.
Rivers also pondered how he would respond if the Indianapolis Colts called this offseason to ask him to return for one more season.
“I kind of perked up just a little and thought, ‘What if? What if they called?'” Rivers said he asked himself after the Colts traded Carson Wentz on March 9. “But it didn’t come to that, and they made a great trade in getting Matt Ryan.
“I’m excited about Matt being there.”
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Philip Rivers Says He ‘May Have Seriously Considered a Return’ Only to the Colts
It’s hard to forget after spending 17 seasons in the NFL and four years before that in college that high school football ends in November. For Rivers’ high school team, St. Michael Catholic in Fairhope, Ala., the 2021 season ended Nov. 5.
It was at that time, Rivers says he really began to wish he was still playing.
“I hadn’t really missed it before that because I got here in March and we were rolling – spring football and summer and the season – and then all of a sudden, it was Nov. 5 and there was no football,” Rivers said to Thomas in an article published on April 28. “I was like, ‘This ain’t right. We still got November and December.’ I missed it a little bit.”
At that point, Rivers started training for a potential comeback. He says the only team he would have considered returning to, though, was the Colts because of his great relationship with Frank Reich.
“If something had happened, and the Colts were in a bind, I would have done it,” Rivers said. “But it didn’t, and I wasn’t pulling for it to happen. Still it was fun to stay ready and throw routes again.”
For just the second time in five years, Wentz stayed healthy and started every game for the Colts last season. Indianapolis backup quarterback Jacob Eason only attempted five passes in 2021, with all the other passes coming from Wentz.
After trading Wentz this offseason, the Colts went 12 days without a starting quarterback before acquiring Ryan. That was enough time for the ultra competitive Rivers to think about his playing days again.
But Rivers remains focused on his coaching career at the high school level in Alabama.
“That time has passed,” Rivers said in regards to his playing career.
Colts Hoping to Recapture 2020 Season with Matt Ryan
Rivers may be done playing football, but his finger prints remain on the Colts organization.
There has been a ton of praise for Matt Ryan and his leadership this offseason from the Colts brass and players. The hope around Indianapolis is the Colts can have a season this fall similar to what they did with Rivers in 2020.
That season had a rocky start with a loss in Jacksonville, but the Colts never fell in back-to-back games and posted an 11-5 record to make the playoffs. It was just the second time since 2010 that Rivers won at least 10 games in a season.
Ryan arrived in Indianapolis similar to the way Rivers did — with a lot of individual career success but no championships. Ryan hasn’t led a team to a 10-win season since 2017.
But with the Colts, Ryan is surrounded with more talent and appears once again ready to compete for a Super Bowl title.