Colts QB Rivers, 39, retires from NFL after 17 seasons

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Indianapolis Colts' Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass to Jack Doyle for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

INDIANAPOLIS – When Philip Rivers first started tossing footballs as a high-school ball boy, he heaved them any way he could. The throwing motion stuck — and success soon followed.

Rivers used that strange, shot put-like style to land a college scholarship, become a first-round draft pick and eventually string together one of the greatest 17-year careers in NFL history. On Wednesday, the 39-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his retirement.

“Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.”

Rivers was one of a kind.

Between his trademark throwing style and his penchant for trash-talking without cussing, he carved out his own niche in the NFL.

There’s no doubt Rivers could sling it.

When he threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns in his second college game, then-Indiana Hoosiers coach and future NFL head coach Cam Cameron proclaimed that the North Carolina State freshman had a future in the NFL.

Rivers didn’t just play in the league — he created a legacy few achieve.