Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune is paid to write about the San Diego Chargers. Even during the offseason. Even when there's nothing going on.
So, when there's news, even if that news is decidedly "non-news", he writes. Yesterday, this meant writing a story about how enough other QBs had passed on the Pro Bowl that the league had offered a spot on the team to Philip Rivers. Philip Rivers passed on the Pro Bowl because, well, he's busy.
The Chargers quarterback, named a fourth alternate in December, was awarded the chance to participate in Sunday's game in Honolulu. He is unable to attend. It's a school week for his family, and he and wife Tiffany welcomed their sixth daughter and eighth child in October. Plenty of work around the house is to be done, as San Diego awaits word of where the Chargers will play in 2016.
Obviously, Rivers holds the Pro Bowl in very high regard.
Somewhat buried in Gehlken's story, however, is this bit of news.
In 2014, Rivers dealt with a rib and, more debilitatingly, a back injury to end the season. The five-time Pro Bowler had doubts whether he'd continue playing in 2015, seriously mulling retirement. Ultimately, as winter transitioned to spring and summer, so too changed his mindset. He signed a four-year extension in August, keeping him under contract through the 2019 season.
Wait....what? Does that say that he almost retired?
Look, I'm sure I don't read or see everything related to the Chargers. I'm sure this is not the first time that this has been reported, otherwise Michael wouldn't have buried it. However, I believe this is the first time that I have personally seen or heard about it, and I'm a bit shocked.
Here's more from Rivers:
"Physically, last year, I didn't know if I was going to play," Rivers said on Jan. 3, about an hour after the Chargers' season-finale loss in Denver. "I mean really, physically, I was like, 'I may not even play football anymore.' This year, physically, I'm great. Emotionally, it's been rough, but I'm excited - I really am excited about who the new core is going to be. I'm excited to be part of that group. I'm waiting for it, kind of letting them take it. ... It's not going to be the buddies I came with; they're going to be gone."
First of all, that last sentence is one of the most depressing things I've ever heard/read a San Diego Chargers play say.
Secondly, wow. I knew Rivers' back was pretty messed up last year, but I kind of assumed if it was that bad he would've had surgery on it.
Third, and I know I've said this before, it really does seem like Mike McCoy is sucking the love of the game right out of the guy who seemed to love it more than anybody else. Or maybe it's just Rivers realizing that he's past his prime and he still hasn't been to a Super Bowl.
Either way, it is somewhat difficult to watch Rivers get so beat up every year, physically and emotionally, and I wouldn't blame him for a second if he had walked away or if he does so sometime soon.