In the off-season Chargers Quarterback Philip Rivers hinted that he was hesitant to sign a contract extension with the only franchise he’s played for. Part of the reason was uncertainty about the future location of the team. He said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay if the team was going to leave.
On Monday, after signing a new four-year extension worth $83.25 million, Rivers explained why he ultimately decided to stay.
"How I felt at the beginning, I think, could have been misinterpreted,” said Rivers, who also made it clear he was not misquoted. “My lack of excitement was more about leaving this community, not a disdain for Los Angeles."
Rivers was entering the final year of his contract in 2015. Although the team could have used a Franchise Tag on him next season, they avoided that potentially messy situation with the extension. Unlike a lot of contract negotiations, Rivers said this one was quite cordial.
"It was never contentious," he said of the process. "I was comfortable playing (the current contract) out. It was never a battle in a sense of me versus the Chargers. It came to where it was just right."
Rivers spoke a lot about commitment. His new deal includes $65 million in guaranteed money, the highest total in NFL history.
"That, in itself, shows commitment moving forward. In returning that commitment, I always have and will continue to give that commitment every week," Rivers said.
Effort on the football field is something that has never been a problem for Philip Rivers. He also plans to continue extending that commitment off the field to the community he and his family have adopted as their own.
"I'm thankful for what the financial part of it is,” said Rivers. “But at the same time that's not what make me or my family happy. I can honestly say that. You feel you have a platform for a reason way more than football. The money part is not just going to affect my football. Hopefully it will help many people."
Philip is not an extravagant man. How did he celebrate the new contract?
“I actually stopped by and got a Domino’s pizza on the way home. Pepperoni, jalapenos and black olives," he said.
Rivers will now be able to follow in the path of fellow Chargers great Dan Fouts and play his entire career for the same team. As a bit of a football historian, that’s something that has always appealed to him.
"Growing up I thought it was neat looking back at guys who spent their whole careers with one team. Now I get to do that. It's special," Rivers said.
Of course, none of this ends the speculation about where the Chargers will be playing in 2016 or beyond. Rivers said he has received no indication from management about what the plan going forward might be. All he knows is since his deal also includes a no-trade clause, he’ll most likely be playing games with a lightning bolt on his helmet through 2019.
"Unless something changes upstairs, I'm going to be a Charger wherever we are," he said. "I'm just very thankful and really honored that I'm going to continue to be the quarterback here."
Wherever “here” ends up being.