A year after Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement, the Indianapolis Colts will start over at quarterback with a 38-year-old who boasts potential Hall of Fame credentials.
Beyond that, there are several questions about the future of a position with just one player under contract after the 2020 season.
With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and the bulk of free agency completed, CNHI Sports Indiana begins a roster breakdown for the Colts with the game’s most important position.
Here’s a look at how the quarterbacks stack up this spring:
Philip Rivers didn’t receive a one-year, $25 million contract to come in and compete for a job in training camp.
The 16-year veteran threw 20 interceptions in 2019, saw his touchdown passes fall from 32 to 23 and watched his average yards per attempt decline from 8.5 to 7.8. But there is reason to believe he’s capable of a turnaround after being reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich.
The pair were together for three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, and Rivers threw for 13,556 yards with 92 touchdowns and 42 interceptions during that span. In addition to Reich, Rivers also has experience with Indianapolis offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and tight ends coach Jason Michael from his time with the Chargers.
That’s allowed the quarterback to enjoy a shorthand with the coaching staff that could be invaluable during a truncated offseason as the NFL tries to find a safe route to return to on-field activity during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Philip, just because of our existing relationship with Nick and I -- it’s literally like riding a bike,” Reich said. “We’re laughing and joking about how it’s just like we’ve not been together the whole time. A very quick re-acclimation to that. We know what Philip likes. Philip kind of knows how we think, but at the same time we’ve brought some new things. He’s brought some new things. That’s been fun.
“It’s been exciting to hear some of the things that he’s learned over the last few years, and he’s been equally as eager to hear kind of what we’ve learned over the last few years as well.”
Both Rivers and the Colts have left open the idea of continuing their relationship beyond the upcoming season if all goes well. But the quarterback already has Plan B in place.
He accepted a job as the head coach-in-waiting at an Alabama high school Friday and will transition into that role as soon as his playing career has concluded. Rivers’ father was a high school football coach, and it’s long been his dream to follow in those footsteps and coach his own sons in the game.
His oldest boy is 12 years old and will be a sixth-grader next school year. So that offers some insight into a potential retirement timeline.
“I’m not going to get carried away,” Rivers said. “I don’t think you’ll see me in the Tom Brady range. But I am excited and feel like I can still help a football team go win a championship.”