However, with the final year of his contract up at the end of the year, Rivers says he’ll take some time once the season is over to evaluate where he’s at physically and mentally to ensure that continuing to play is the right decision for himself and his family.
Rivers has said that he wants to be playing when the Chargers open SoFi Stadium — the team’s new home in Inglewood — in 2020, and that sentiment has not changed.
“I think that is my desire,” Rivers said this week. “But I do think that it only seems right to say, ‘All right, let’s take a deep breath and regroup.’ I kept saying, a couple years, a couple years or a handful, and then I went to the ‘one year at a time.’ And I think that’s where it is, and that only makes sense when your contract is up and you’re going to be 38 here in a few weeks.
“So I’m just going to have kind of a self and family evaluation of it all, and also know that it’s not solely my decision. If you would’ve asked me and I had two years left [on a contract], I would say, ‘Of course I’m going to play.’ I’m not turning in on them, you know what I mean? So I think it only makes sense. I don’t think this is breaking news, but I think that’s the prudent thing to do and the most reasonable thing. But my intention certainly is to be playing in 2020.”
Rivers turns 38 on Dec. 8. The Chargers maintain he is part of the team’s plan moving forward, something that has not changed since the start of free agency last offseason.
“I can tell you that he’s not going anywhere,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said earlier this year.
Rivers said before the start of the regular season that he was comfortable playing out the remainder of the contract and waiting until the season is over to negotiate a new deal. He is earning $16 million in total compensation in 2019 — the final year of a four-year, $83.25 million extension signed in August 2015.
As the Chargers prepare for a Monday Night Football contest against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City, Rivers currently leads the league in passing yards (2,816), attempts (364) and completions (240). He’s also third in the NFL in a more dubious category: turnovers (12).
However, Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen maintains Rivers still has more gas left in the tank.
“I feel like Philip can definitely still play that way [at a high level],” Steichen said. “You’ve seen this year in stretches where he’s played awesome. He’s just got to continue to play at a high level when he does play that way.”
Rivers agrees, and he wants to keep playing in the blue and gold. But he’ll take time in the offseason to confirm those thoughts.
“Yeah,” Rivers said. “I think there’s no question that would be my hope. It’s a two-way deal, but I do think it’s always been something that would be special to play in the same place your whole career.
“It only makes sense when your contract is expiring and you’re at this point of your career to look at it all and go, ‘All right, let’s go at it again. I’m all in, and they’re all in, and if this is where it makes sense, then by all means, let’s go.’ But I think it’s probably different than any other year because of where I’m at.”
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