Chargers, QB Rivers part ways after 16 seasons
The Los Angeles Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers officially parted ways Monday after 16 seasons.
The franchise's all-time leader in wins, passing yards and touchdown passes will become a free agent at age 38.
"I'm not sure what the future holds, but my family and I look forward to seeing what God has planned for us next," Rivers said in a statement released by the team.
An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Rivers started all 16 games for the 14th consecutive season for the 5-11 Chargers in 2019. He completed 66.0% of his passes for 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
Tyrod Taylor, a nine-year pro, and rookie Easton Stick from North Dakota State served as backups to Rivers last season.
"After stepping back a bit from last season, we reconnected with Philip and his representatives to look at how 2019 played out, assess our future goals, evaluate the current state of the roster and see if there was a path forward that made sense for both parties," said general manager Tom Telesco. "As we talked through various scenarios, it became apparent that it would be best for Philip and the Chargers to turn the page on what has truly been a remarkable run."
Telesco said the decision was made now to give Rivers and the Chargers more time to prepare before the start of free agency on March 18.
"I've said before that Philip can still compete at a top-starter level and, in a perfect world, number 17 is your quarterback forever," Telesco said. "Obviously, we live in an imperfect world where the only constant is change. I think Philip's tremendous perspective, both when it comes to football and when it comes to life, helped lend clarity to a very complex situation."
Rivers compiled a 123-101 record and reached the playoffs six times with the Chargers, including a 12-4 season in 2018, but he only reached the AFC Championship game once (2007 season) and never took the team to a Super Bowl.
He set team records for completions (4,908), pass attempts (7,591), passing yards (59,271) and passing touchdowns (397). He needs three touchdown passes to become the sixth player in NFL history with 400, and needs 729 yards to become the sixth with 60,000.
"I am very grateful to the Spanos family and the Chargers organization for the last 16 years," said Rivers. "In anything you do, it's the people you do it with that make it special. There are so many relationships and memories with coaches, support staff and teammates that will last forever, and for that I am so thankful.
"I never took for granted the opportunity to lead this team out on to the field for 235 games. We had a lot of great moments, beginning in San Diego and then finishing in LA. I wish my teammates and coaches nothing but the best moving forward."
Rivers was drafted by the New York Giants with the No. 4 pick in 2004 and then traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall pick. Manning announced his retirement last month.