The Philip Rivers era ended for the LA Chargers after the 2019 season as the team pivoted to sixth-overall pick Justin Herbert. It was a great parting for all parties as the Chargers got to kickstart their future while Rivers got one last hoorah in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.
Rivers did not re-sign with the Colts in 2021 and while there was speculation of him coming out of retirement to help the short-handed New Orleans Saints that year, nothing ultimately came to be. With another full season in 2022 going by, it felt safe to say that Rivers was officially retired from the sport.
Well, that does not seem to fully be the case. Rivers has reportedly expressed a desire to return to the NFL in 2023 and even had conversations last season with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers when they were dealing with their respective quarterback injuries.
After all, Rivers did dispel rumors about him coaching with Shane Steichen on the Colts staff. Perhaps he doesn't want to coach because he wants to be on the other side of the action between the hash marks, not on the sideline.
Chargers fans may have to prep themselves emotionally for Philip Rivers to return.
Obviously, there is nothing set in stone and Philip Rivers simply being interested in returning to the NFL does not mean he will actually do so. After all, he has not played for the last two years and teams are not going to be as high on him as they would be on someone like Tom Brady.
That being said, Rivers is not as old as NFL fans may think (he is 41, turning 42 in December) and had a pretty solid season for the Colts in his last year in the league. Rivers completed 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions. That is better than a lot of starting quarterbacks in the league today.
Will a team sign him as a free agent soon to return to the NFL? Probably not. However, could there be a team that does not land a QB in the 2023 NFL Draft that suddenly has a massive hole to fill at QB? Possibly.
Or it could just be a situation where the absolute right scenario has to present itself. A veteran like Rivers may not want to go through the grind of training camp and all that it entails. Instead, if a quarterback-hungry team that is also a playoff team (like the 49ers, potentially) comes calling, he might actually say yes this time.
I wouldn't hold your breath about Rivers returning to the NFL in 2023 but I certainly would not consider it impossible. If Rivers truly wants to play again in 2023 then there will be somewhere for him to go.