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Philip Rivers appeared at ease in front of the television cameras and recorders – and he was built for celebrity status. No question was sidestepped and his demeanor was calm and collected, even when the talks surrounding his contract negotiations continued to find their way into the conversation.

After missing 29 practices, Philip Rivers was in Carson on Tuesday – looking forward to the last few days of camp. Before he got to training camp, it was a long battle between his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and the Chargers front office.

The negotiations became a subject for public debate as both sides aired their dirty laundry to the world. It stretched on longer than it should have but Rivers backed his representation and acknowledged how hard it was to sit back and wait.

"It's a tough process," Rivers admitted of the negotiation process. "The whole time we were working towards the same goal. I was pleased with the way it turned out. Everybody wishes it was day one. It don't always work out that way. I think both sides are glad it is over.

"It's not very fun. You want to be out here practicing. You can't wonder what if. This is day one."

While Rivers handled the questions regarding his holdout with relative ease, there was a longing from the rookie to move past that talk and look towards the future venue – the possibility of being the starting quarterback for the Chargers.

It was a crisp day for Rivers who was up at 5 AM to drive to Carson from his base in San Diego. Sleep wasn't much of an option with the anxiety of meeting the team at camp for the first time. Rivers mentioned he felt a little strange as he was not sure how he would be accepted by his teammates when he arrived.

It turned out he did not have to worry about it, especially in San Diego where it is normal for holdouts to occur.

He had some trouble connecting with his receivers on the field but worked through the practice as if he knew the coverages he would see and knew the mental checks he had to make.

"I felt pretty comfortable in what we are doing," Rivers said. "A few checks here and there, other than that, I feel pretty up to speed."

Still there is a long way to go before he is comfortable in the pocket. His ball floated high and the timing he was developing with his receivers has gone awry.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer echoed the observations and reports from Will Mortensen:

"I don't know whether it was just adrenaline or what, but he had a number of balls thrown high today," Schottenheimer said. "The absence of work with his teammates, especially the receivers, is obvious."

The rookie signal caller heaped praise on his competition, Drew Brees. He had kept a close tab on the Chargers during his absence and made any talk of controversy tough to broach with his easygoing demeanor.

"Drew has been throwing the ball well," Rivers said. "He has been playing well. Those quarterbacks have been great to me from day one."

Soon enough, there will be a controversy in town. Philip Rivers was a first round pick for a reason. The Chargers want him to accelerate his learning to a point where he can start for them this year. With Brees slated for unrestricted free agency at year's end, the team would like to know what the future will bring.

Rivers, meanwhile, has always expected to start. He is a winner in the true sense of the word and his attitude exudes confidence.

"My expectations are high," Rivers said. "I am going to do all I can do to get better. One thing you are going to get is all I have and I am going to work hard and do all I can do to help us win."

And for once, the quarterback talking is easy to believe. He does not shy away from his troubles of the day and the past but also forges ahead with a renewed purpose.

San Diego may be sunny all the time, but things are finally looking bright for the Chargers.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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