Rivers Out of Concussion Protocol, Cleared to Play

Chargers QB given OK to play but listed as questionable

On Monday Philip Rivers was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol. So the big question around the Chargers all week was: will he play against the Bills on Sunday or not?

"You know I just let the doctors handle it," said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn on Wednesday. "Philip will be brutally honest with us. I told him to be honest about this injury and he has been so far. That's all you can go by."

On Friday, Rivers was cleared to play by an independent neurological consultant but the Chargers still have him listed as questionable for the game against Buffalo. While most expectations are that Rivers will be available, if we have learned anything about head injuries it’s that they are anything but predictable.

If Rivers can't go then it'll be backup Kellen Clemens at the helm in what would be his first start since 2013 with the Rams.

"I'm fortunate to have been here for four years," said Clemens. "The offense didn't change much in the off-season despite the change at the top (Lynn replacing Mike McCoy). Philip has been great. For three and a half years now he's been an open book sharing his thoughts, why he does things, so it's no different this week than any other week. Everybody hopes that Philip's going to be out there and be ready to go and hopes that he's OK physically, which is the most important thing. But if called upon I'll be ready to go."

In the event that does happen it will be the end of one heck of an impressive streak. Rivers has started 194 consecutive games, the 4th-longest stretch for a quarterback in NFL history. Before this week he had never been diagnosed with a concussion in his professional career.

Something to keep in mind is the toughness of Philip Rivers. Remember this man has played with a torn ACL and severe rib injuries, and those are just the ailments we know about. For him to let the team know he's not 100% (he self-reported the concussion symptoms) and risk missing a game of his own volition is proof of just how serious this situation is.

Regardless of what happens against the Bills, Chargers fans might want to get used to the thought of not seeing 17 in the shotgun. Lynn has made it clear he prefers mobile quarterbacks. Next year the Chargers will owe Rivers $22 million. If they cut him they'll save $8 million against the salary cap in 2018 and $16 million in 2019.

Of course there is the possibility of engineering a trade for Rivers but where do you send him? He has a no-trade clause and odds are he won’t want to accept a move to the Jets or Browns, who need quarterbacks but are not close to contending. A lot of people think Jacksonville is a possible destination but the Jaguars have already picked up the $19 million on Blake Bortles.

The spot that makes the most sense is Denver. The Broncos have enough outside the QB position to contend the next couple of years and Rivers does have a good relationship with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. Would the Chargers deal their franchise QB to a division rival where he can haunt them for the next two seasons? Stanger things have happened.

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