Philip Rivers is fired up.
“I’m fired up,” Rivers told The Darren Smith Show on Friday afternoon. “I was fired up last night when we made the pick. Melvin Gordon was the topic of a lot of Saturday night conversations in snack and in the quarterback room just on highlights alone, some of the unbelievable games he had last year. Now hopefully he’ll have some of those same highlights in a Charger uniform.”
Listen to Philip Rivers’ interview with Darren HERE
Ryan Mathews’ injury-plagued era with San Diego ended when he signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles but the running back group, which ranked 30th in the NFL in 2014 gets a much-needed boost with the return of Danny Woodhead, along with Branden Oliver and Donald Brown.
“The addition of Melvin, that’s a heck of a group. I think they’ll all complement each other very well.”
Watch Melvin Gordon on being drafted by the Chargers
You’d have to look long and hard over the last decade of Chargers’ drafts to spot more than two, skill-position players drafted in the first two rounds since Rivers became the starting quarterback. Really, you could count them on three fingers. Vincent Jackson (2005, 2nd round), Buster Davis (2007, 1st round) and Ryan Mathews (2010, 1st round).
Tom Telesco stated the obvious need for impact players, shortly after moving up to draft Melvin Gordon on Thursday.
“We need impact players and we got an impact player. We just felt we had to get him. We made the move to get him and we’re thrilled about him.”
The repeated terming of “impact player” by Telesco wasn’t lost on Rivers. “The word Telesco used, impact player, he certainly has shown he can be that.”
It had been a while since the normally accessible Rivers had spoken on the record. Trade rumors had circulated for months after he told the Chargers he didn’t want to sign an extension and would be fine playing out the year. Rivers told Darren Smith several months ago that the possibility of the team moving to Los Angeles could be a factor in not-resigning with the team. With Telesco and owner Dean Spanos refusing to rule out a trade of Rivers on the record, those rumors didn’t go anywhere until Rivers was told shortly before the draft he wouldn’t be traded. Rivers was asked if he there was ever a point he thought he could be traded.
“I mean yeah, you never know. Deep down in my gut I didn’t think I’d be gone but you never know. There was enough smoke to linger a little bit. I never thought ‘oh my gosh, this is happening.’”
“I took them for their word, nothing is going on. But, you never really know.”
Rivers admitted it’s been a couple of very unusual months leading up to the draft, with various reports coming that the Chargers could trade him to Tennessee. But with off-season workouts underway and his being around his teammates at the Chargers facility, things are “back to normal.”
Rivers was asked if there was any validity to the reports saying he was ready to move on from the Chargers, given the uncertainty of their future in San Diego as well as the changing faces around him.
“There’s really not and I don’t say that to try to discredit anyone or say that they’re wrong but that’s really not true. Have there been some frustrating days over a career? Sure. And it’s part of it when you’re at a place for eleven years. You see some players go that you wish didn’t go. But that by no means, had I expressed nor had I really felt, ‘oh I can’t believe this has all happened in the past…that’s never affected my mindset or added fuel to anything.”
“You know me. I’m always the first to say what can I do better? How could I have helped us get into the postseason last year? How could I have helped up win a couple of those playoff games that we didn’t win? At the same time, I’ve felt like I’ve helped us win a heck of a lot of games that we have won.”
“But no, shoot, like I think I told you a few months ago when you were asking about some of the moves in free agency just wait and see how it pans out. We’re still early on in that but I’m excited about what I’ve seen these last two weeks and I’m excited to be the quarterback this coming season. I look forward to us, shoot, going out and battling and trying to get back into postseason and get back to winning the AFC West.”
Telesco says he never had conversations with the Titans about a trade and that trading Rivers was never a possibility. But the idea of Rivers being traded did not evolve out of nothing.
“I certainly think working out Mariota had something to do with that. That just adds to the speculation so. All those things, it turned out to be all for nothing, right? Shoot, Mariota is in Tennessee, I’m right here and happy that I’m going into year 12 in the same place.”
“As Tom said, that’s just what they do. I took it for what it was said to be and I assume that’s what it was.”
The UT’s Michael Gehlken told Darren Smith on Thursday that Rivers’ agent Jimmy Sexton had recently been in San Diego to discuss an extension with the Chargers. Many feel that an extension could be coming soon, but Rivers wasn’t ready to say he’d reconsidered signing a new deal before the season played itself out.
“There’s a lot of moving parts in this thing. So really, all I can say regarding an extension is I’m willing to listen. And I say that with I’m willing to play the year out, which is, like I said to you two months ago, that’s what I signed up for. So that’s really where it is. Which one of those happens, who knows. Not to be redundant and be boring but I’m fired up to be the quarterback this year. If it’s longer than that, it could be. If it’s not, it’s not. That’s really where it is right now.”
“I‘m willing to listen, I’m willing to play it out, I’m fired up to be here this year.”