Fired up Rivers Happy to be a Charger

No Eli Manning in this bunch. Philip Rivers actually wants to be in San Diego. <br><br> "I am fired up," Rivers said in a press conference with reporters. "That is one thing that the fans are going to get in San Diego, a guy who wants to be there and be a part of it. I am fired up to be a Charger."

"Philip Rivers is someone we love as an organization," AJ Smith said. "We selected Eli Manning and we were prepared to deal with that. When the NY Giants selected Philip Rivers, some dialogue took place. Let's just leave it at that and we know how it materialized.

"Philip is a guy we think is going to be a tremendous quarterback in this league and will be around for a long time."

Rivers is the second leading passer in NCAA history with 13,484 career passing yards, breaking school and ACC records. He set an NCAA record with 51 career starts at quarterback and simply completed 72% of his passes, leading the nation, as a senior.

Rivers is just happy to be part of the NFL and is honored to be picked by the Chargers.

"When your problem is which team of 32 NFL teams – that is a pretty good problem to have," Rivers said. "I am just excited it is San Diego. From day one I developed a great relationship with the staff and Marty Schottenheimer at the Senior Bowl and it gradually grew from there."

"We had the benefit of working with Philip at the Senior Bowl," Marty Schottenheimer agreed. "The familiarity we had with Philip made us very comfortable. Ultimately we got a young man that we think can be an outstanding player in this league. When we spent time with him in the Senior Bowl, that afforded us the some insight into what the young man is all about, and we feel very comfortable that he is an excellent choice for the San Diego Chargers."

It was his Senior Bowl performance that sealed the deal for the Chargers. While rumors persisted that they would move another direction, Rivers was their top choice all along. The key was trading down a few spots.

One thing the Chargers would not do is trade down to pick seven, where Cleveland sat. Despite a decent package reportedly being offered, the Chargers were afraid the Pittsburgh Steelers would trade up past them and select the young signal caller.

Ironically, Coach Schottenheimer almost tried to limit Rivers during the offseason.

During the Senior Bowl, Schottenheimer toyed with not playing him in the fourth quarter to "hide" him from the rest of the league.

"In preparation for the game we had made the decision that Philip would start the game," Schottenheimer began. "I thought if you put him (back) out there (in the fourth quarter) in light of what he had already done, you are really going to elevate his status if he performs well. Maybe we are better off just letting him stay over here and not drawing attention. Then the other thought was, we need to know ourselves whether in this circumstance he is able to do the job and get it done. Then of course he lit the thing back up again."

Rivers earned MVP honors of the Senior Bowl and his stock soared. Without the final performance, Rivers may not have elevated his status to where he would be a Charger today.

Schottenheimer made the right call and it paid off on Saturday. Now the Bolts have fire, Rivers is "fired up" to be a Charger. By next year he may be "charged up".

Certainly no Eli Manning in this crowd and his antics fade to distant memory as the future is bright with Rivers leading the way.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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