Prolific passer Philip Rivers is retiring after 17 seasons in the NFL, turning in his cleats for a clipboard.
Rivers, who ranks fifth with 63,440 passing yards and 421 touchdowns, will now take on the role of head football coach at St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
“This is the first year I felt like the ending was real. We talked about it other years, but we knew we weren’t doing it. This year felt different. It just seemed right,” Rivers said. “What has helped me come to this (decision) is the growing desire to coach high school football. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been growing. I can’t wait.”
Rivers did not come to the decision lightly.
“Every year, January 20th is a special and emotional day,” Rivers told ESPN. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL.”
Rivers played 16 seasons for the Chargers and his final season with the Colts, who he led to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. They lost the AFC Wild Card game 27-24 to the Bills. It was Rivers’ seventh trip to the playoffs. He took the Chargers to the playoffs six times including from 2006 to 2009, and again in 2013. He never appeared in a Super Bowl.
Rivers played in 244 games, starting 240 in a row, second to Brett Favre’s streak of 297.
“It was awesome,” Rivers said, reflecting on his playing time. “A young kid from Northern Alabama who grew up wanting to play pro ball. I got to do it.”