Philip Rivers Left a Colts Star in ‘Complete Shock’ With His Final Decision in Indy
Philip Rivers proved with the Indianapolis Colts, during what was his final season in the NFL, that he was still an excellent quarterback. Many people knew, though, that Philip Rivers was just a temporary fix for the Colts, as he was 38 years old for most of the 2020 season. So, for many, Rivers’ retirement was not too surprising. However, his decision left one Colts player in complete shock. That player was star linebacker Darius Leonard.
Philip Rivers had a successful season as the Colts’ quarterback
The Indianapolis Colts were shocked when Andrew Luck suddenly retired before the 2019 NFL season. After playing Jacoby Brissett for one season, the Colts then signed Philip Rivers for 2020.
The eight-time Pro Bowl selection then led the Colts to a lot of success, and had a great year individually. Rivers threw for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He also completed 68% of his passes, which was the third-highest completion percentage of his career.
Rivers’ play helped lead the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Indianapolis, however, barely lost in the wild-card round to the Buffalo Bills, 27-24. Rivers then announced his retirement shortly after the end of the season.
Rivers finished his career fifth in NFL history in passing yards with 63,440 and fifth in passing touchdowns with 421, as he truly had a remarkable career. However, Rivers’ retirement decision left Darius Leonard in “complete shock.”
Darius Leonard was completely shocked
Colts star linebacker Darius Leonard recently appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and he discussed his reaction to Rivers retiring.
“It was definitely a complete shock,” Leonard said, according to NFL.com. “You know, just talking to him a couple of days before he announced, he still didn’t know what he was gonna do. Me personally, I do believe that he has some left in the tank. He played very well this year for us and I thought he was going to come back the next year and do the same exact thing and play even better.”
Leonard is right; Rivers proved that he still had plenty left in the tank. The legendary quarterback is now 39 years old, though, so maybe it’s just time for him to call it quits.
The Colts, however, are now left without a quarterback yet again.
Who will be the Indianapolis Colts’ next quarterback?
The Indianapolis Colts, who could become Super Bowl contenders with the right quarterback, are now looking for a new signal-caller. Luckily for them, they have plenty of options.
Reports suggest that the Colts have had discussions with the Philadelphia Eagles for Carson Wentz, which appears to be their most serious option. Wentz had a terrible year with the Eagles in 2020 but just had 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2019. He also was a Pro Bowl selection in 2017 when Colts head coach Frank Reich was his offensive coordinator. Some people believe that Reich and the Colts would be able to fix him back up.
Sam Darnold is another option, as the New York Jets have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft and could very well select a QB at that spot. Darnold hasn’t been great in his three years in the league so far; he only threw for nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2020, but he had an awful team around him.
Lastly, another realistic option for the Colts is to trade up in the draft. They could select a college star like Justin Fields or Trey Lance and then be set for years to come but potentially have some growing pains in 2020.
All in all, the Indianapolis Colts have plenty of options to replace Philip Rivers at quarterback for 2021 and beyond. It will be interesting to see what they do.
Note: After the publication of this story, the Indianapolis Colts acquired Carson Wentz for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference