The Mercury News

Colts quarterbac­k Philip Rivers calls it quits after 17 years


When Philip Rivers first started tossing footballs as a high-school ball boy, he heaved them any way he could. The throwing motion stuck, and success soon followed.

Rivers used that strange, shot putlike style to land a college scholarshi­p, become a first-round draft pick and eventually string together one of the greatest 17-year careers in NFL history. On Wednesday, the 39-yearold Indianapol­is Colts quarterbac­k announced his retirement.

“Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championsh­ip without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterbac­k in the NFL. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.”

Rivers was one of a kind. Between his trademark throwing style and his penchant for trash-talking without cussing, he carved out his own niche in the NFL.

There’s no doubt Rivers could sling it.

When he threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns in his second college game, then-Indiana Hoosiers coach and future NFL head coach Cam Cameron proclaimed that the North Carolina State freshman had a future in the NFL.

Rivers didn’t just play in the league; he created a legacy few achieve.

After being selected fourth overall in the 2004 draft, he was immediatel­y traded from the New York Giants to the San Diego Chargers for Eli Manning. Rivers spent the next two seasons backing up Drew Brees in San Diego before taking over as the starter when Brees left in free agency.

In the 2006 season opener, Rivers made his starting debut — and then the next 251 in a row including the playoffs. Nothing kept him out — not the awkward mechanics, not the critics who thought he should retire after his final season with the Chargers, not even the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered against the Colts following the 2007 playoffs.

His 240 consecutiv­e regular-season starts was the second-longest streak since 1970, trailing only Brett Favre (297), and it was one of the few stats Rivers cherished.

Rivers won 134 career games — No. 2 among quarterbac­ks without a Super Bowl ring — and was eighth all-time. Only Tom Brady (230), twotime Super Bowl champs Peyton Manning (186) and Ben Roethlisbe­rger (156), Brees (172) and Hall of

Famers Favre (186), John Elway (148) and Dan Marino (147) won more regular-season games than Rivers. SAINTS’ CAMPBELL NAMED NEW LIONS COACH >> The Detroit Lions have landed the coach they coveted from the start of their search, agreeing to terms with Dan Campbell.

The Lions announced the agreement with the New Orleans Saints tight ends coach on Wednesday, one day after formally introducin­g Brad Holmes as their general manager. Campbell will sign a six-year contract, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The 44-year-old Campbell has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a coach and 11 as a player.

FORMER NINERS COACH SINGLETARY INTERVIEWS WITH BEARS >> The Chicago Bears reportedly interviewe­d one of the best players in franchise history to be their defensive coordinato­r. Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary is among several candidates the Bears have interviewe­d to fill the vacancy left by Chuck Pagano, who retired last week, according to The Athletic.

Singletary, 62, was named interim coach of the 49ers in Week 8 of the 2008 season after serving as linebacker­s coach. He got the job permanentl­y the following year and was let go after Week 16 of the 2010 season, finishing with an overall record of 18-22.

 ?? JEFFREY T. BARNES — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? The Indianapol­is Colts’ Philip Rivers announced his retirement after 17 seasons in the NFL on Wednesday.
JEFFREY T. BARNES — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The Indianapol­is Colts’ Philip Rivers announced his retirement after 17 seasons in the NFL on Wednesday.

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