Philip Rivers isn't getting any younger, but make no mistake: The 2018 Los Angeles Chargers are his team.
The quarterback's coach said as much with the draft 10 days away and a crop of signal-callers available for selecting.
"Philip, he's still playing like a young man," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said, per Chargers.com. "This is going to be his squad. If we bring in another quarterback, it's definitely a guy we feel like can sit for a couple of years and play behind Philip and learn, and maybe be the future."
Yes, Lynn also gave the obligatory mention of the backups on the roster -- Cardale Jones and Geno Smith -- adding "I wouldn't look past those two right now." Eventually, though, a replacement must arrive for Rivers, whether its Jones, Smith or a draft pick. Rivers knows this, but he's also not conceding his job anytime soon.
"I look around at places, some guys that have had far more success than I have had, and they're drafting quarterbacks," Rivers said, per Chargers.com. "So, it's inevitable. It's going to happen at some point. It's happened at other places, we all know where they are. And those guys are either still sitting, or they've been traded. ... You know at some point we are going to draft a guy, and I don't see that as any negative.
"I think [Chargers GM] Tom [Telesco], [team president] John [Spanos] and Coach [Anthony] Lynn, these guys know my desire to continue going and hopefully play at a high level for a handful of more years. But at the same time, shoot, as an organization you've got to prepare for down the road. If the right guy [is there that] they see fit, at some point they're going to have to make that decision."
Rarely does a veteran quarterback simultaneously sound so honest and yet so measured. Rivers is aware of his age, of how the professional game operates as a business, isn't insecure about his job but also isn't prepared to pass a torch to a new franchise quarterback.
He's right, though: Eventually, the time will come. He's 36 years old and is entering his 15th season. But if we're talking performance, he still has plenty of gas left in his stubborn, sometimes spiteful tank.
Rivers posted his fifth-straight 4,000-plus-yard season and a 28:10 TD-to-INT ratio in 2017, and save for a made kick or two, would have found himself back in the playoffs with a Chargers team that has plenty of promise. Rivers appears situated for one last multi-year run of success; he rightfully isn't eager to give up the keys.