Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will take over as head football coach at St. Michael Catholic High School in Alabama pending his retirement from the NFL, the school announced Friday.
Rivers, 38, is heading into his 17th season in the NFL after signing a one-year, guaranteed $25 million deal with the Colts in March. It’s unclear when Rivers will retire, but the eight-time Pro Bowler said he is taking it one year at a time.
“It’s a special day for me and my family, really,” Rivers said in a news conference. “I know I’m going to get a little emotional. I had two childhood dreams. One was to play in the NFL, and I’ve been able to do that now going into my 17th season and I still love that. The other is to be a high school football coach as my dad did. … How blessed am I to be able to live both of those out, one on the tail end and one in the beginning stages.”
An Alabama native, Rivers was an all-state quarterback under his father Steve at Athens High School in 1999 before going on to play at NC State.
“My dad was my high school football coach, so I want to coach my boys and I want to coach young boys down the road. So I do know what’s next when my playing time’s over, so we did talk about it a little bit,” said Rivers, who has two sons and seven daughters, per AL.com. “I think really where we settled in was: I still love to play. Certainly not coming off my best year, but in a year where I still know I can play at a high level, I did it in spurts. I just didn’t do it consistently enough.
“And I love it, and shoot, it was one of those deals where we said, ‘Well, if there’s nothing else out there, then that’ll be our answer.’ We kind of said, ‘Whatever God wants, so if there’s nothing out there, I don’t want to just try to hang on to play. If nothing’s out there, shoot, we’ll start coaching.’”
The Chargers acquired Rivers, a fourth-overall pick, in a 2004 draft-day trade with the Giants for No. 1 pick Eli Manning. Rivers then spent two seasons as backup to Drew Brees before stringing together a 14-year starting streak with the team once Brees signed with the Saints.
In February, Rivers moved back to Alabama to be closer to family. He and the Chargers mutually agreed to part ways, making Rivers a free agent for the first time in his career.
Rivers, who has started 224 straight games, is three touchdown passes away from becoming the sixth NFL player with 400. His 59,271 passing yards ranks sixth on the league’s all-time list, while his career passing-efficiency rating of 95.1 is the 10th-best all time. Rivers has been a poplar name in broadcasting circles for after he retires, as well.
“I think it is a one year at a time deal,” he said. “You get to 38 and play as long as I have … I’ve expressed publicly and the Colts have said too they hope it’s more than one year. But we take it one year at a time. I love playing. When that time does end, you will get the same passion and work ethic at this school and community that I’ve poured into my career.”
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