Chargers agree to deal with Rivers, finally

After weeks of battling at the contract table, and even a week without talk, the San Diego Chargers have come to terms with first round pick Philip Rivers on a six year deal. He is expected to sign the deal prior to Tuesday's practice.

The Chargers originally selected Eli Manning with the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and after the New York Giants selected Philip Rivers, the teams consummated a deal that sent Manning to New York in exchange for Rivers, a third round pick in 2004, a first round pick in 2005 and a fifth round pick in '05.

The contract impasse came to fruition when A.J. Smith gave an ultimatum to Sexton in the form of a public statement that declared the team had made its best offer and would take money away from future deals. Sexton fired back saying the reported deal by Smith was not fact but filled with fiction. The two sides then took a week off from even talking to each other.

Sexton had claimed they were close before the Chargers suddenly broke off negotiations and the first call to the Chargers' offices lasted under a minute last week. When the Chargers told him they had not changed their minds regarding contract talks, the call was over. Sexton then changed tactics and faxed in proposals to get the dialogue started again.

"This is a fair deal for both Philip and the Chargers," said Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith. "We're just happy to have the negotiations behind us and a bright future ahead for Philip, the Chargers and all Charger fans. We're looking forward to getting him on the field and ready for the 2004 season."

Rivers had been tabbed by many, including some within the Chargers organization as the starting quarterback for 2004 but a lengthy contract stalemate between Rivers' agent Jimmy Sexton and the Chargers that caused the former NC State signal caller to miss more than two weeks of camp and 30 practices has made that impossible to start the year.

"It all worked out," Rivers said. "I am just excited to be on a team again."

The team will forge ahead with Drew Brees as their starting quarterback and depending on how quick Rivers can grasp the offense and get in work with the first team will go a long way towards determining when he starts.

There are still rumblings within the organization that say he could become the man sometime during the season if he progresses as expected.

The 6-foot-5 quarterback has a lengthy resume that has been wiped clean as he officially becomes a Charger:

  • Set NCAA record with 51 career starts at quarterback

  • Finished second in NCAA history with 13,582 career yards of total offense, breaking school and ACC records

  • Tied for fifth in NCAA history with 95 career touchdown passes, breaking school and ACC records

  • Broke school and conference records for career passing attempts (1,710), pass completions (1,147), touchdown responsibility (112), 300-yard passing games (18) and 400-yard passing games (7)

  • Posted a 34-17 career record at quarterback

  • First QB in ACC history, and the seventh in the history of the NCAA, to throw for 3,000 yards in three different seasons

  • Completed 110-161 passes in four bowl games for 1,202 yards, 10 TDs, 3 interceptions and rushed for 65 yards

  • Was named MVP of all four bowl games

  • Jersey number 17 was retired before last home game, Nov. 22, 2003 against Maryland


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