“17 For 17”

The 2004 NFL Draft is one that will be remembered for years to come. In that draft class, football fans were introduced to three quarterbacks. There was Eli Manning and his infamous comment about not wanting to play in California for the-then San Diego Chargers. He was the first overall pick that year. Then, there’s Ben Roethlisberger who’s still playing as we speak. People couldn’t even pronounce his last name at one time. Also drafted that year was a quarterback from North Carolina State named Philip Rivers. He was originally drafted by the New York Giants then traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning. After a 17-year career in the NFL, Philip has decided to call it a career and retire from the NFL.

The first takeaway when watching Philip was the throwing motion. It was only appropriate that I mentioned it first. Philip is 6’5 yet he played as if he were smaller with how he would throw the football with that side-armed motion. It looked weird, but he got the football to his intended receivers and that’s all that mattered. He was a ball of energy on the field. Philip was one of those quarterbacks with the gunslinger mentality. I always saw him make those awkward passes where you didn’t think he’d complete it, but he did. In the clutch, he was always cool, calm and collected. The moments never seemed to be too much for him. When you allowed him to buy time, he’d pick a defense apart.

Philip played 16 years with the Chargers and spent his final season in the NFL with the Colts. When I interviewed a Colts beat writer named George Bremmer, I asked him how the veteran quarterback was received in Indianapolis, he told me that wide receiver Michael Pittman stated he learned more from Rivers in two weeks then he ever could imagine. Offensive lineman Ryan Kelly said he had never been around a guy with such an encyclopedic knowledge of the NFL. He had a nice career. Just this season, he surpassed Dan Marino on the all-time passing touchdowns list. He’s fifth all-time. I can’t wait to see what he does next in the future. I wish him the best.

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