Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers discusses this week’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
INDIANAPOLIS — Philip Rivers plans on being the starting quarterback to an Indianapolis Colts playoff game this weekend. However, the 39-year-old acknowledged Wednesday, if things don’t break the Colts’ way on Sunday, Week 17 against the Jacksonville Jaguars could very well be his final professional football game — or at least his last one as a member of the Colts.
While Rivers doesn’t believe the thought will linger with him throughout the week, it popped into his brain Tuesday.
“It crossed my mind,” Rivers admitted. “I go,’Shoot, if things don’t go the way you want this weekend, who knows what happens.’ I guess it’s probably healthy to get that idea because, shoot, you’re not guaranteed anything moving ahead. However, to believe it might be the last game, the last game I ever play, certainly. I do not mean it is going to be, I don’t hope that it is, but you must acknowledge it’s a possibility.”
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The Colts playoff hopes hinge on two things: First, they need to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. If they don’t, they’re out. But if they do win, they need a loss from the Browns, Ravens, Dolphins or Titans. If any of those teams lose and the Colts win, Rivers gets his wish and he’s playing playoff football in January.
Regardless of when the Colts season ends, however, he and the organization have a major decision to make about his future. Rivers signed a one-year contract to play in Indianapolis. However, Colts coach Frank Reich said at the beginning of this year that, assuming things went well, he imagined the Rivers-Colts partnership extending beyond the 2020 season.
While the Colts could miss the playoffs, it’s hard to argue the Rivers signing hasn’t been a success. The Colts have won 10 games and are primed to score their 11th this weekend. A major reason why is how Rivers’ has elevated the offense back to near 2018 levels after a challenging 2019.
The Colts sit eighth in passing yards per game (259.3) and ninth in scoring (28.2 points per match ). The Colts ranked sixth (278.8) and fifth (27.1) in the same groups with Andrew Luck under centre in 2018 but fell to 30th (194.3) and 16th (22.6) with Jacoby Brissett in 2019.
Rivers has thrown 23 touchdown passes against only 10 interceptions — halving his total from last season. His 68.3% completion percentage ranks eighth among qualifying quarterbacks, his 7.7 yards per attempt rank ninth and his passer rating (98.0) 13th.
A couple weeks ago, Reich reported that depending on the level Rivers was playing , the 39-year-old had multiple years of good football left in him.
Rivers, clearly, needs to want to keep on playing along with the Colts should want to continue with him around, but it seems like that’s the way they are headed.
While neither has tipped their hands in regards to what they’re thinking, a reunion does seem more inclined than not given recent remarks. Obviously, Reich’s thoughts about Rivers and his repeated declarations that the Colts have the talent and depth to win the Super Bowl this season talk to his certainty regarding the quarterback. Of course, once the offseason rolls round and the Colts have a chance to evaluate all of the choices, it is possible they could decide to go in another way.
Rivers, meanwhile, has said he won’t play well in to his 40s like Tom Brady but may continue to consider playing for as long as he still loves going to work daily and can frankly tell himself he’s helping his team win. He never wants to feel like he’s just milking two or three additional years out of his career.
“I do still enjoy the process,” Rivers said lately. “I do wake up with a passion for the process. … I don’t ever want to be the one that just hangs on, who goes,’Maybe I can get another year. Maybe I can find a second year,’ just to hang on… (Right now), I don’t feel like I’m hanging on, and I do feel like I can still contribute.”
At the conclusion of this campaign, Rivers will need to do another evaluation of just how much he’s left in the tank and if he still feels the fire and passion he felt at the start of this year. Perhaps when the season ends, he’ll be more fired up about beginning his high school football coaching career.
Whatever his decision is, the procedure for earning it’s going to involve conversations using the Colts but furthermore, with his loved ones. Their support played a pivotal part in his return to the NFL this year.
“That inner circle, my wife, children, my dad, mom and brother, had they all been like,’Hey Philip, you want to shut down it, it is OK to be carried out.’ Had they all felt that way, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here,” Rivers said Wednesday. “But they all felt how I felt, I think, obviously still seeing the love, fire and passion I still had to play and prepare each week and feeling like I felt then, shoot,’You can still be a productive player and assist a staff go win.’ That definitely could have tipped the scales one way or the other had they not all been on the same page.”
Perhaps Rivers’ inner circle will feel otherwise at the end of the year. But that’s likely not a conversation they’ve had yet. In spite of all the possibility looming that Sunday could be his final career game, right now,” Rivers said, he’s solely focused on beating Jacksonville. Whatever happens next will be determined in time.
Follow IndyStar Colts Insider Jim Ayello on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @jimayello.