COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers uncharacteristically did not talk to reporters during locker room cleanout Monday at the team’s facility after a disappointing, 5-11 season.
That much was understandable, as Rivers repeatedly answered questions about his future over the past few weeks. Rivers, 38, is in the final year of his contract and does not know whether he will return to the Chargers for a 17th season.
Just a few items of clothing remained in Rivers’ usually full locker Monday, perhaps a sign that the team’s starting quarterback since 2006 might not return in 2020.
A teary-eyed Rivers reiterated he wants to continue to play after his team’s 31-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Although he would rather finish his career with the Chargers, Rivers said he’s open to playing elsewhere in 2020.
“I plan to play football, so yes,” Rivers said Sunday, when asked whether he would consider playing for another team. “Where that is going to be will get sorted out over the next few months. I’ve never been in this position. I don’t even know when the league year starts. We’ll just kind of see. I’m very thankful for the 16 years, and if there is another, I’ll be thankful for that.”
Rivers finished an uneven season completing 66% of his passes for 4,615 yards and 34 touchdowns.
However, Rivers turned the ball over 23 times, a pet peeve of coach Anthony Lynn. Rivers turned the ball over a combined 24 times the previous two seasons (13 in 2018, 11 in 2017).
Lynn was asked whether, in a perfect world, Rivers would be his team’s quarterback next season.
“Who wouldn’t want a guy with those intangibles and that production?” Lynn said. “Sure, but I have a lot of guys to look at, not just Phil. And it’s early right now in that process. But I love what he represents and what he stands for.”
While he struggled this year, Rivers’ teammates still support him returning next season.
“I want him here,” said tight end Hunter Henry, who is also slated to be an unrestricted free agent in March. “He’s our leader. He’s a Hall of Famer. He deserves that, and hopefully he’s back.”
Added WR Keenan Allen: “He’s been my quarterback the whole time [I’ve been with the Chargers]. To even think about him playing with somebody else would be tough, just the camaraderie and the connection that we have.”
At some point, Rivers plans to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Steve Rivers, and coach his oldest son, Gunner, when he’s ready to play high school football. But as it stands now, Rivers believes he still has some gas left in the tank.
“If any of the 32 teams want me, I’ll be playing somewhere,” Rivers said. “But maybe in a month, I’ll be ready to put on a headset and call the ballgame, I don’t know. I really don’t. But as honest as I can answer it right now, I’ll be out there if someone wants me.”