According to 107.5 The Fan’s Kevin Bowen, while not completely concrete, he has ‘heard additional information’ that the Indianapolis Colts informed veteran starter Philip Rivers that the franchise was going to go in a different direction this early offseason—which hastened Rivers’ retirement:
“I guess this is our little bit of Philip Rivers info here,” Bowen said on 107.5 The Fan’s ‘Kevin’s Corner’. “You know when the whole Rivers retirement went down, and like I said, getting some crickets on trying to confirm things.”
“. . . Now, I’ve gone back and forth on this, Chris. Did Philip retire on his own? Or did the Colts tell him we’re going to go in a different direction? How do you want us to handle this? And does Philip say, ‘Oh wow, I guess I’ll retire on my own then.’ Because Philip made it very clear, either I play for the Colts, or I am done.”
“. . . And I’ve heard both sides of it. And I would say I have heard additional info on the Colts told Rivers they were going in a different direction.”
In support of their ‘going in a different direction theory’, Bowen and his co-host Chris presented some furthering factors:
- Rivers getting emotional in his final Colts games but not to the point of indicating he was finally hanging up the football cleats for good (still having passion for the game and the ability to play starting NFL quarterback at a quality level for another season).
- The lack of a formal retirement press conference when Rivers did retire (instead solely relying on the article by longtime writer Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune to announce his farewell).
- The fact that Rivers enrolled his kids in Indianapolis schools—with an eye towards playing longer than just a mere one-year stint for the Colts.
In particular, one compelling theory Bowen presented simply made sense, ‘the Ed Dodds, Detroit Lions theory’—regarding Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds, who interviewed for the Lions general manager opening earlier this offseason:
“... Basically, a couple of things stand out about it of, where would the Colts have confidence in telling Rivers they’re going in a different path? Trying to connect dots in all of this can be difficult, but I’m trying to.”
“Ed Dodds interviews with the Lions, right? [For their] opening at GM. Lions ownership was very open with their GM candidates of ‘Matthew Stafford is not going to be a part of the future here in Detroit.’ So, Ed Dodds knows that information. He interviewed. He obviously goes back to Indy and takes that information with him. So, now the Colts know that Matthew Stafford is available. This all happens before Philip Rivers decides to again, in quotes ‘retire’.”
“Do the Colts then sit there internally and say, ‘We’ve got a chance to go get Matthew Stafford. He’s going to be on the open market. We feel like that’s an upgrade over Philip Rivers. We need to tell Philip that we need to go in a different direction.’”
“Again is this stamped? Locked in? Set in stone? 100%? No, but with just the lack of information we’re getting on this, and the fact that Philip did not have a press conference to announce his retirement.”
Here’s the actual timeline of early offseason events too:
- Saturday, January 9th: Colts season ends after a wild card round playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.
- Tuesday, January 12th: Colts assistant G.M. Ed Dodds interviews with the Detroit Lions, during which he very well may have been informed that franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford was not a part of the Lions future plans.
- Thursday, January 14th: Colts general manager Chris Ballard gives his virtual end-of-season press conference to the media—noting that both Rivers and the team have a month to decide on what their futures will be going forward together—as a ‘two-way street’.
- Wednesday, January 20th: Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers announces his retirement via The San Diego Union-Tribune article.
- Saturday, January 23rd: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Lions and Stafford have mutually agreed to part ways this offseason—and that he’s to become available in trade talks.
In any case, there may definitely be some smoke here regarding the Colts being alerted of Stafford’s sudden availability this offseason, and Rivers being informed that the team was going to go in a different direction at starting quarterback in 2021 shortly thereafter—which led to Rivers’ ‘early retirement’.