As it turns out, Rivers actually considered walking away from football altogether prior to signing a four-year extension in August.
Rivers mulled retirement last winter, harboring doubts about continuing his career, per Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union Tribune.
The veteran quarterback was nursing rib and back injuries after taking too many hits behind a porous offensive line in 2014."Physically, last year, I didn't know if I was going to play," Rivers said three weeks ago, after the Chargers' season-finale. "I mean really, physically, I was like, 'I may not even play football anymore.' This year, physically, I'm great.
"Emotionally, it's been rough, but I'm excited -- I really am excited about who the new core is going to be. I'm excited to be part of that group. ... I know they care, and they're pretty dang good football players, so let's go. Let's get healthy. Let's add a few pieces and let's go."
Toward the end of the season, Rivers called for a "reload" rather than a full-scale rebuilding effort.
The Bolts are in much better shape than their 4-12 record might suggest. They were victims of bad luck, for starters, losing 10 of those games by a touchdown or less. The injury bug struck to an unbelievable degree, dismantling the offensive line, the wide receiver corps and the secondary.
San Diego's season also was sabotaged by the specter of relocation hanging over the heads of the players and coaches.
With Rivers leading a healthier offense and the young duo of linebacker Denzel Perryman and cornerback Jason Verrett spearheading an improving defense, the Chargers are a prime candidate to bounce back to respectability in 2016.