Will Chargers Start Rivers?

Who knew that Philip Rivers would end up a San Diego Charger after a crazy start to the 2004 NFL Draft. <br><br> While many may have been fooled, the signs were there for all parties involved – including a premonition from the Chargers new (starting?) quarterback.

The Chargers made the first move when they selected Eli Manning. They maintained that they were ready to move forward with that choice, until something happened that took them by surprise.

"It was a surprise to us," AJ Smith admitted when the Giants took Rivers. There was no pre-arranged deal in place."

And that is when the phone started ringing.

"Boy there was a lot of dialogue then," Smith said. "We are thrilled with what happened."

Rivers admitted he had to act like he was a Giant, because he was for a very brief period of time. And from the sound of it, Rivers didn't enjoy his time as a Giant.

"I didn't really know what was going to happen and ten minutes later I was a Charger," Rivers said. "It all worked out. I am just excited to be on a team again. I was teamless for about three months."

And perhaps for a few moments even after he was picked.

Rivers entered the weekend unsure if the Chargers would move down to four and pointed to Pittsburgh as the only other logical conclusion of where he would end up calling the whole situation a "whirlwind".

As a family man, Rivers chose to stay home and watch the events as they transpired rather than go on the road to New York. It is something that separates him from many other players and continues to speak of his character.

On Friday, whether it was a premonition or not, Philip Rivers was wearing a Chargers t-shirt while he washed his car. On Saturday morning, Rivers kept a Chargers cap he got from his time at the Senior Bowl close by. By 1 PM EST the hat was in his hand and getting worked into wearing shape.

"I am excited it happened the way it did," Rivers said. "I knew they had interest and I knew it was a possibility."

And does he become the starter immediately?

Rivers feels he is ready, but tempered his response by looking at how much value he could get if he was sitting on the sidelines and learning.

But he plans on preparing for a starters role, citing that even if he was the second string quarterback he would still be just one play away from going under center.

"Coach Schottenheimer will determine exactly who the quarterback will be at a later date. How does it affect Drew? Competition makes you a better football player," AJ Smith said.

"I have no problems with a rookie quarterback," Schottenheimer added. "He will compete for the starting job just like Doug and Drew a couple years ago. We are going to make it competitive."

Rivers, 6-foot-4, 226 pounds, finished his career at North Carolina State second in NCAA history with 13,484 career passing yards in four seasons as a starter. He started 51 games, an NCAA record, and is tied for fifth in the NCAA with 95 touchdown passes.

"I want to find out in the competition who the man is," Schottenheimer said. "And whoever that is, that's the way we'll go."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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