Philip Rivers to be road warrior for Chargers on SD commute
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — After the Chargers moved north this year, Philip Rivers and his wife deliberated for months before deciding to keep their eight children in their longtime family home.
So Rivers is a California commuter now, shuttling along the freeways between San Diego and Orange County a few times each week.
Unlike his thousands of fellow travelers in their archaic four-wheeled boxes, the veteran quarterback is being chauffeured north and south in a $200,000 RV that has been gutted and renovated to the specifications of a quarterback on the go.
His massive ride is tricked out with luxury seats, a refrigerator, satellite television and wireless internet. He plans to maximize his commute by studying film during his 90-minute drive each way.
“It’s been smooth, it really has,” Rivers said Thursday. “It hasn’t been an issue. It’s funny, because I get asked, ‘How long (is the commute) today?’ And what I really want to say is it doesn’t matter. You don’t ask me how long I stay up here and watch tape.”
Rivers’ teammates and coaches are very impressed by his new ride — mostly.
“I think I would have gone bigger if it was me,” offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said with a laugh. “I certainly respect what he’s doing. I admire him for that, because his family is so important to him.”
After two weeks of commuting to the Chargers’ new complex since the end of training camp, Rivers is confident he made the right choice in his custom ride — instead of, say, a helicopter or a small plane.
The Chargers’ new coaching staff also supports their quarterback’s plan to live long-distance. Heading into his 12th season as the Chargers’ uncommonly durable starter, the 35-year-old Rivers has earned the right to make his own decisions about game preparation and body preservation.
“We talked about it way before he spent all that money on that vehicle,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “I understand his situation with his family being an hour and a half down the road. I support him 100 percent, but we also said that if traffic or anything would hinder you from being here with the guys, or being here in the building when you’re supposed to, then, well, Philip will move up here and be with the rest of us.”
Although his family is still in San Diego, Rivers’ mind is on the future with the Chargers, who appear to be in position to make a quick rebound from two dismal campaigns when they begin the season at Denver on Monday night .
Several of Rivers’ teammates are back from the injury problems that decimated the Chargers last year. Los Angeles also reconfigured its offensive line to provide more time and space for Rivers, who threw a career-worst 21 interceptions last season.
Since taking over the starting job in 2006, Rivers hasn’t missed a game. When asked to explain his improbable durability, Rivers chalks it up to an ability to take calculated risks.
“I have been reckless at times with the football, but I’ve never really felt like I’ve played reckless from a standpoint of putting myself in position to take unnecessary hits,” Rivers said. “There is a fine line. If it’s third and 4 and the game is on the line and I’m right there at the first-down marker, I’m probably going to lay out for it. But there are times when you throw the ball away.”
That luxurious, mobile film-study room parked behind the training complex is a tribute to Rivers’ tireless preparation. Whisenhunt believes that dedication allows Rivers to anticipate trouble, minimizing his exposure to risky situations.
But with seldom-used Kellen Clemens and newcomer Cardale Jones as their backups, the Chargers don’t want to jinx it as they head into the season with optimistic expectations. Nothing completely explains how Rivers has stayed healthy for his entire career with likely several more years to go.
“If you had an answer for that,” Whisenhunt said, “there would be a lot of people that would pay to hear it.”