Rivers Talks Chargers Football

By now everyone knows that Philip Rivers is a potential target of the San Diego Chargers. Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer is in love with the humble young man from the southeast. When Rivers talks about the Chargers staff, he does so with respect. When he talks about San Diego it is with excitement. It was his arm the Chargers staff guided during the Senior Bowl and Rivers knows a bond has formed. Will it lead Rivers to San Diego?

"I grew up in Alabama and Raleigh is where I have lived the other time," Philip Rivers said. "Other than a game, we played SMU in Dallas and Texas Tech in Lovett, other than those two times which were team trips, I have never, of my own will, been past Tupelo Mississippi. Certainly it would be a change, certainly exploring. To me, there is not a bad place. There are 32 teams and when you have the opportunity to play for one of them, nothing to complain about.

"I would be excited about (coming to San Diego). Seventy and sunny is my kind of weather."

Rivers became the guy on offense that Marty Schottenheimer and Cam Cameron leaned on during Senior Bowl week. They saw him take control of the huddle and demand the attention of players who had just met him that week.

During the game, Schottenheimer routinely put his arm around Rivers to consult him, whisper a play into his ear, or simply congratulate him on a job well done.

Rivers appreciates what they have done for him already and has firsthand knowledge of how they run their team, even if it was just a taste.

"Being in a place where," Philips says with a pause to collect his thoughts, "you have a good rapport with the coordinator and the coach and have gotten to know them a little bit, I would be excited and fired up and ready to go from one side of the country to the other."

Even though the team had extensive time with the quarterback prospect from NC State, they came to Raleigh to see his Pro Day. The night before the workout they met at a private room in the hotel in what Rivers termed "a more relaxed setting."

The Chargers brought Buddy Nix, Dean Spanos, AJ Smith and a host of others down so they could see what Schottenheimer and Cameron already knew:

Rivers is a standup man who commands respect on and off the field.

At such a meeting, Rivers admits he had some questions of his own. As much as this is a journey for the Chargers, Rivers is also looking to make sure he meshes well with the team.

"With their staff, more so with Coach Cameron and Coach Schottenheimer, I got to know them pretty well at the Senior Bowl. I guess I knew a little bit more about them than the rest of the crew.

"There were some questions I asked, nothing that I went there in particular that I wanted to know. While they had some questions, it was a lot of getting to know you. The Spanos', the GM and those guys wanted to get to know me a little more because Coach Schottenheimer and Coach Cameron can go back and tell them everything that they have seen and known, but they just wanted to see that in person. I went in there, was myself, I enjoyed it and I had a good time. I have a lot of respect for all of them, but going in I knew how I felt about Coach Schottenheimer and Coach Cameron.

"It was a good atmosphere and relaxing for a couple of hours."

For Rivers, the intimidation factor of meeting with a staff was lessened because of their history at the Senior Bowl, albeit brief.

When Schottenheimer talks about Rivers, he sees a quality that may just separate him from the pack. It isn't just the outstanding numbers for Rivers.

"Rivers has a demeanor, a presence about him," Schottenheimer said. "Everyone talks about his delivery, but we have no reservations regarding his throwing motion. He has the ability to make all the throws."

Over the course of his college career, Rivers literally made almost every throw. A 72% completion percentage his senior season is a testament to his ability to make plays, despite what many term an odd throwing motion.

The history of the Senior Bowl and subsequent draft has shown that the coaches of the North and South squad will generally draft more players that attended the workouts and game than anywhere else.

The coach and the player simply have developed chemistry from working together. Schottenheimer is immensely loyal, sometimes to a fault and if they team somehow manages to get Rivers it will be because of his influence.

"We had a good relationship as the week grew and I have a lot respect for him," Rivers added. "All time active winningest coach. Just the things that he was able to tell us throughout the course of the week to prepare us in meetings. He was certainly a great (coach) to have for that week. I know most of the guys would say the same thing.

The one thing Rivers knows he won't be doing that much of should he make it out to San Diego is playing golf, although the topic was discussed at dinner. Despite living on Tobacco Road, Rivers admits he is not that good.

"It was pretty short talk about (golf). I am not that good anyway."

It just means if Rivers finds his way to San Diego, there will be more time spent on the football practice field as opposed to the links.

Writer Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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