The 2004, the Chargers could have tabbed either Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger as their starter of the future. Although most teams had Roethlisberger rated higher, the Chargers went with Rivers. Last season, Roethlisberger led his team to a Super Bowl victory, becoming the youngest player ever to do so. Rivers will get his fourth start as a pro against the Steelers this Sunday.
"I had a good feeling about San Diego, just didn't know what was going to happen with the whole Eli Manning thing," Rivers explained. "My impression was that the Giants had a lot of interest in Ben. Who knew? I had no clue what was going to happen when the Giants took me. That was somewhat of a surprise at that point. My agent told me, 'Listen, don't be surprised if you don't stay there. This could drag on through the first round or so if they don't' get a trade worked out.' I was doing an interview with ESPN with the Giants thinking that I wasn't going to be there. So that was kind of awkward. I never spoke to one person from the Giants on draft day. It was kind of a weird deal. When the trade occurred I was excited. It kind of played out how I had hoped it would the whole time."
Also, in the 2003 draft the Chargers had a chance to select safety Troy Polamalu. Instead, they traded down and ended up with cornerback Sammy Davis and safety Terrence Kiel. Davis was traded after two inconsistent seasons to San Francisco in exchange for receiver Rashaun Woods. However, Woods was cut before every playing a down for the team. Kiel is fortunate to be back in time for this game; he will have to keep pace with the All-Pro Polamalu to keep that draft-day misfire from drawing even more ire.
They came from where?
Give the scouting departments of the Chargers and Steelers some credit when it comes to locating good cornerbacks. Both have been able to find terrific players in places not exactly known as NFL hotbeds. The Chargers roster includes Drayton Florence (Tuskegee) and Cletis Gordon (Jackson State). The Steelers have both Ike Taylor (Louisiana Lafayette) and Ricardo Colclough (Tusculum). Florence and Taylor are both starters, while Gordon and Colclough are both promising reserves with value on special teams.
The Chargers and Steelers will meet for the second consecutive season. Just like last year, the game will be played in San Diego during primetime. Also like last year, the game will be played in week five with the Chargers wearing their powder blues. One image that won't be seen again is that of the since-retired Jerome Bettis grinding down the clock and moving his team into range for the winning field goal. If the Steelers are to break the Chargers' hearts again, they'll have to find a new way to do it this go around.
A Special Day for Osgood
When Kassim Osgood signed a four-year contract extension this offseason, he was hoping to get a chance to contribute more on offense. That has not been the case, as Osgood is the fifth receiver in the rotation behind starters Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker and reserves Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd.
If there was ever a day for Osgood to surprise with a big game, it would be Sunday against the Steelers. Osgood's best offensive day as a pro came in 2003, when he had a break-out performance in Pittsburgh good for 102 yards and a score. He's unlikely to match those numbers this time around, though he could have a chance to register his first reception of the season.