Rivers played 16 years for Chargers, final season for Colts; he will fulfill lifelong dream of coaching prep football

The time has come, dadgummit.

The man whose good-natured hollering was as renowned as his highly unorthodox and highly effective throws is hanging up his helmet to put on a different hat.

Philip Rivers, who came to San Diego in a draft-day trade in 2004 and played quarterback for the Chargers all but his final season in the NFL, will announce his retirement today.

“It’s just time,” Rivers told the Union-Tribune late Tuesday night from his home in Indianapolis, where earlier this month he completed his only season with the Colts. “It’s just right.”

Rivers, who wore No. 17 throughout his 17 seasons, played in 244 regular season games, starting the final 240 of those without interruption. That streak is the second longest ever by an NFL quarterback behind Brett Favre’s 297.

His retirement comes 13 years to the day since Rivers played in the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots just six days after undergoing surgery to remove the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

It is a day that has long been dear to the devout Catholic, as Jan. 20 is the Roman Catholic Church’s St. Sebastian feast day. Sebastian is often referred to as the patron saint of athletes.

Rivers, 39, finishes his career ranked fifth all-time with 63,440 passing yards and 421 touchdown passes.

“I can sit here and say, ‘I can still throw it. I love to play,’ ” Rivers said. “But that’s always going to be there. I’m excited to go coach high school football.”


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