(Editor’s note: This story was originally published on October 10, 2020. Rivers announced his retirement on Wednesday).
INDIANAPOLIS… The off button on Philip Rivers’ mouth doesn’t always work when he’s in the game.
The Colts’ quarterback is always quiet. Get out of the way! Go into the field. Until he clicks. After the whistle.
Philip Rivers keeps talking nonsense.
– NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 4, 2020
And chances are, Rivers talks to the other team a lot at times like this.
One of Rivers’ exchanges during week four was caught red-handed when he was caught talking to Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.
After failing to sideline the Bears with a hard hit, the Rays decided to talk to Smith, who the Colts were planning to select with pick No. 6 in the 2018 draft (Smith went to Chicago two picks later). The quarterback wanted to make sure that the linebacker knew that everyone had seen the Colts’ rookie, Jonathan Taylor, on a track earlier in the game.
He has you around the corner, Rivers told Smith repeatedly, without pain or cursing.
Philip Rivers on the mic, it’s gold. @Colts pic.twitter.com/CJZETdh63G
– NFL movies (@NFLFilms) October 1, 2020
Obviously, a party was completed last weekend, Rivers said after next week. I think it had a lot to do with the atmosphere of an empty stadium. It was like being in a garden.
Rivers’ 17-year career has been marked by trash talk during games, including the first 16 with the Chargers. His exchanges with his opponent often make him a favorite for the microphone during the game. Not surprisingly, his comments go viral, like his joke with Smith.
The regret is probably a bit great, but there are definitely times when one wonders: What am I doing here? I think there’s definitely a line you don’t cross if you don’t use it at all, Rivers said. I think a lot more happened in the 1920s. I’ve been playing this game in the backyard since I was a kid, and I’ve always played it that way. So I think there’s one element you can’t get rid of, and that’s the element I’m most skilled at. If something wasn’t on video, I wouldn’t even think about it, because it’s a good piece by piece. That was fun. Then you move on to the next one.
But Rivers doesn’t come into every game with the goal of hurting his opponent. He has to take care of more important things, like moving the ball around the field to score points.
For the quarterback, it’s more of a trial and error process.
I keep telling the boys: Hey, everyone has their own personality. We’re a team. We do what’s best for the team, but in a team environment everyone can express themselves in their own way, Colts coach Frank Reich said. We love and appreciate Philippe’s competitiveness and fire. It’s good for our team, and I think it’s good for the game. Philip is also professional enough to know how to draw the line. I think he’s come close to this line a few times in his career, but I think he does a good job of staying on the right side.
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What makes Rivers’ trash talk even more entertaining is that he can do it without name or term. He keeps it clean and enjoys every second. Occasionally, the rivers go by their southern train once or twice.
Rivers is a little cleaner than maybe Zach Pascal sometimes or Jordan Wilkins sometimes, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said. I can see that. It’s just that he’s him. That’s how he plays, and that’s how he works. I think he gets the best out of himself when he does that, and he knows what motivates him, and he knows how to play his game, and that’s just part of his game.