Rivers: Commitment from Chargers outweighs uncertainty
SAN DIEGO (AP) Philip Rivers will be the San Diego Chargers' quarterback through 2019, he said Monday, ''wherever we are.''
Whether he ends his career with the Chargers still based in San Diego or uprooted and moved to the Los Angeles area, Rivers will be able to retire with lightning bolts on his helmet.
''To spend my whole career in one place is very special,'' Rivers said at a news conference Monday, less than 48 hours after he agreed to an $84 million, four-year extension to remain with the Bolts through 2019.
Not even Junior Seau, who was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, or LaDainian Tomlinson, who is expected to make it to Canton, were allowed to finish their careers as Chargers.
It helps that Rivers' deal includes a no-trade clause.
General manager Tom Telesco called it ''a very important day in the history of the Chargers,'' and noted that Rivers - 33 and the starter since 2006 - will be able to finish his career as a Charger, just like Hall of Famer Dan Fouts.
Rivers said the commitment by the Chargers in giving him the extension outweighs the uncertainty caused by the team's apparent desire to move to Los Angeles.
Team chairman Dean Spanos didn't attend the news conference. He and the rival Oakland Raiders have partnered on a proposed stadium in Carson. Spanos' sons, A.G. and John, who hold titles as president, also didn't attend.
Earlier this year, Rivers seemed hesitant to move to Los Angeles if the team moved.
''My lack of excitement for a potential move was more about the thought of leaving this community than it was about a disdain for L.A.,'' Rivers said. ''Again, those are still out of our control. Nobody still knows. It wasn't a hatred of Los Angeles, it was more of a love for this community. This is where all but one of my children have been born and where our family has grown over a decade.''
Rivers' wife, Tiffany, is expecting their eighth child.
So is he now OK with a possible move to L.A.?
''Unless something changes from Tom's standpoint or upstairs, I'm going to be a Charger, wherever we are,'' he said.
Not long after Rivers spoke in San Diego, Carmen Policy, hired by the Chargers and Raiders to be point person in Carson, unveiled some new stadium renderings at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles.
''I had no idea that was taking place,'' Rivers said. ''As players, once we've gotten into camp, I know for myself, I've been less in touch with all the things swirling on the outside. There's nothing I can do about it. They'll tell us at some point when there's news that's concrete. Other than that, all I know is that we're going to play 2015 in San Diego and our home games in Qualcomm and we're fired up about making it a special year.''
Some people think the proposed Carson stadium is a negotiating ploy. However, the Chargers walked away from negotiations with the city of San Diego in mid-June for a new stadium at the site of aging Qualcomm Stadium. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has said that if the sides don't have a term sheet by Sept. 11, there won't be a special election in January.
Last week, Faulconer announced a financing plan that would cap public contributions for a new stadium at 32 percent. Chargers stadium point man Mark Fabiani, a former deputy mayor of Los Angeles, has said he expects a deal that provides in excess of 60 percent from the public.
Rivers was obtained in a draft-day deal with the New York Giants in 2004 for Eli Manning, whose family had said he didn't want to play for San Diego. Rivers became the starter in 2006 after Drew Brees was allowed to leave as a free agent.
Rivers has started 144 straight regular-season games, the second-longest active streak behind Manning's 168, and thrown for 36,655 yards. His 252 career touchdown passes are two short of the team record set by Fouts.
The QB led the Chargers to four straight AFC West titles from 2006-09 and to a wild-card berth in 2013. The Chargers have missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons, including last year when Rivers played through back and chest injuries.
Rivers is 4-5 in playoff games.
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