As franchise tags and free agent rumors swirl around as the new NFL year approaches on March 15, here’s another one: Philip Rivers might want out of retirement.
Rich Eisen just returned from the NFL Scouting Combine, and put together a list of the top five rumors he heard from multiple sources in Indianapolis, and his No. 5 on the list was that Rivers actually contacted two NFL teams prior to the playoffs starting to see if his services were needed.
Rivers, 41, was never signed.
“We all know two teams that were quarterback-needy at the end of the season,” Eisen began. “Starting third-stringers and had a chance to go to the playoffs and maybe make a deep run in the playoffs, referring to the Miami Dolphins, and of course, the San Francisco 49ers. I heard at the Combine that Philip Rivers contacted both of them to come back late last year.”
Instead, the 49ers went with Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in 2022 NFL Draft, and that was expected considering how well he was playing. The Dolphins went with Skylar Thompson, another seventh-round rookie that almost had a large upset in him in Buffalo before the Bills closed it out.
But could Rivers still be searching for a team that wants him?
The New Orleans Saints reportedly tried to lure their legend Drew Brees and Rivers out of retirement for one week during the 2021 season. Both quarterbacks declined.
Speaking in Aug. 2021, Rivers, who was a first-year head football coach at St. Michael Catholic High School in Alabama didn’t rule out a return to the league.
“I’m not quite there,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m getting back there. I wouldn’t have made weight if I had to report last week, that’s for sure. But I am getting back into the lifting and running, and shoot, I occasionally throw a ball around out here in this heat. It’s not too hard to get a good lather going.
“I’m just going to stay ready. I want to make sure I’m very clear: I’m not predicting I will play in December or January, for that matter. One, you’ve got to have somebody who wants you, and two, it’s got to be right. But I have not completely ruled that out.”
The Saints don’t need a quarterback anymore, as they reportedly inked Derek Carr to a four-year pact that takes him off the board. Aaron Rodgers is another wild card teams are waiting to hear from.
But, as the NFL has shown us before, quarterbacks coming out of retirement isn’t anything new. Tom Brady did it this past season. Heck, Brett Favre did it three times.
Rivers spent 16 years with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, collecting eight Pro Bowls and becoming the team’s all-time passing leader with 59,271 yards over 228 games. Rivers was famously traded to the Chargers during the 2004 NFL Draft, where the Giants selected him fourth overall and they did a swap for Eli Manning.
Rivers’ last season in the league was with the Indianapolis Colts, a team that went 11-5 during the 2020 season but lost in the wild-card round. Many didn’t believe it was a flash in the pan in Indy, but Rivers announced his retirement after the season.