According to The Athletic’s Zak Keefer, the Indianapolis Colts have discussed bringing back retired veteran quarterback Philip Rivers—after starter Carson Wentz was placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday:
Colts need to call Philip Rivers. Have heard it's being discussed.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 28, 2021
The 40 year old Rivers played one lone season for the Colts, completing 369 of 543 throws (68.0%) for 24 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a passer rating of 97.0 during all 16 starts in the 2020 campaign—helping to lead Indy to the playoffs.
He retired in January of this year and is now the head coach at St. Michael Catholic (HS) in Fairhope, Alabama, but hasn’t completely closed the door on lacing them up again.
That being said, this report should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Colts are likely discussing a lot of options, including internal backups such as rookie Sam Ehlinger or veteran Brett Hundley, as well as any external insurance options that could potentially help them win a game or two here late and clinch an AFC playoff spot.
Given that he’s already familiar with the offense and playbook, Rivers makes some sense.
What doesn’t is that this could be as minimal as Wentz missing one regular season game, as he may only have to isolate for 10 days—which would put him still in-line to start the finale at Jacksonville less than two weeks from now.
It’s not like a season-ending injury to Wentz, or a lengthy commitment to Rivers that he could potentially start a stretch of consecutive games for the Colts—late season and for a possible playoff run.
It looks like there’s a strong possibility it’s a one game spot start, two at the most for Indy.
Is that enough for Rivers to come out of retirement? Probably not, but who knows for sure.
It also doesn’t help that the Colts could be without the majority of their starting offensive line again against the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend. It means that despite having a quick release, the incredibly immobile Rivers, may not want to take the beating in pass protection behind a patchwork group.
In at least that regard, Ehlinger (or even Hundley), who both can move in and outside the pocket to escape duress, might actually be the preferred option(s).
It’s not surprising in the least that the Colts are at least discussing Rivers returning—it would be foolish to not vet all of their available options, but it would be surprising to actually see it come to fruition and have him return to the football field for Indianapolis.