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What Philip Rivers Means to His Teammates
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Make no bones about it, win, lose or draw, the Chargers do so as a team.
It truly is all 53 men on the roster working toward one goal. However, all week long, it seems the conversation inevitably returned to one single person when talking about this week’s game against the Denver Broncos as well as the Bolts postseason journey as a whole.
That unifying figure has been Philip Rivers, who many Chargers credit for getting them where they are today.
The Bolts quarterback is fresh off leading his team to a Wild Card win over the Cincinnati Bengals, completing 12 of 16 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown for a 118.8 passer rating. During the regular season, number 17 earned his fifth Pro Bowl honor by completing 378 of 544 passes for 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions while also leading the league in completion percentage (69.5%).
This weekend’s Divisional Game is about the San Diego Chargers, not Philip Rivers. But to get a sense of how beloved Rivers is in the locker room and how much he’s meant not only to the team’s success but to each player as a person, here is just a small sample of what his teammates had to say about him this week:
“Philip means a lot to this team because he is the leader of this ball club. When you have a guy like that, you’re talking about a guy who has the qualities to help you through the tough times. He makes it a lot easier for everyone around him. That’s what sticks out the most to me about him. Not only is he the quarterback but he is our leader and he makes the game a lot easier for everyone around him. For me, that’s the true test of what he means to our team. We drafted him believing he can carry us to wins, and he’s done that. I remember one game we had once against Houston, he carried the whole team. We only won because of him. When I think of him in general, not only do I think of a quarterback and a guy who leads this team, but in my mind, he’s a friend too. When it comes to Philip, I feel lucky to have been a part of someone like him. When I look back at my career many, many years from now I will have felt lucky to have gone through this all with him.” – Antonio Gates
“My rookie year has been great for me because of Philip Rivers. It’s great to have a quarterback that has the knowledge that he has. What he means to me is everything I’ve accomplished this year (because he was the one) throwing me the ball. What he means to this team, that speaks for itself.”- Keenan Allen
“This team goes as Phil goes. I’ve always said that. He’s one of the best in this league and always will be. There is no one else I’d ever rather take the field with. Philip became the starter just one year before I got here, so we’ve experienced everything together. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, we’ve been through it together. And it’s amazing to see the transformation with us as a team and then him. Just his consistency, his leadership, his personality and experiences, he’s not going to let anything get to him. And that has rubbed off on us as his teammates.” – Eric Weddle
“He means everything to us. He’s our leader for sure. We go where he goes. To bring the energy he brings, he is everything to us. We were drafted together, and as a friend and a longtime teammate this whole experience has been awesome. Watching him grow and watching this process grow and getting a chance at this thing, it’s cool.”- Nick Hardwick
“I don’t think you can explain it in words what he means to us. He’s everything. He’s our leader, our quarterback, our motivator and a game changer. Philip does it all, so there are no words to really explain what he’s meant to us to get where we are right now. He means a lot to me personally. He gives me a lot of confidence and motivation. You’re talking about having somebody back there who is going to make the play. Who is going to change the game. Who can make the throw. He has even shown he can do it with his legs if he has to. So he means a lot to me.” – Ladarius Green
“Its’ felt great to really get to know Philip over the course of the season. I didn’t watch too much NFL football growing up, but I always knew who Philip Rivers was and watched him a bunch. He’s always been a top five quarterback to me and still is. You’ve seen what he’s done this year for us. His understanding of the game and the terminology and the way he communicates with us, it was easy to see when I got here why this guy is such a great quarterback. He’s done a great job putting us all on the same page, and being around him as a friend, that has been what’s meant the most to me. He knows when to be serious and when to joke around with us in the classroom and in the huddle. He’s a great person, and I’ve never met anyone like him.” – D.J. Fluker
“We wouldn’t be here without Philip Rivers. He is an unbelievable quarterback. He is a great guy but he will also get after you and with such a young team like we have had, we’ve needed that in order to get ready to go. On the sideline when the offense is out there I’ll take a peek , he fires me up. He gives me all the energy to go out and play for this team.” – Donald Butler”
“If you want to point to a leader, Philip Rivers is the leader of this team hands down. He makes this team go. As he goes the team goes. Not just how he carries himself on the field but the way he prepares during the week, he’s a true leader. He represents all the things a natural leader should have. You know he is going to give it everything he’s got, and when your quarterback does that, it rubs off on the rest of the team and that’s part of the reason why we’re in this position. It has been great for me to go through this experience with him. It’s been a while since the Chargers had been in the playoffs, and coming in last year, I see Rivers and I see Gates and guys like that want it so bad. So it is very rewarding to get the wins together, but we are not satisfied. We still have a ways to go. We need to take it one week at a time and one step at a time so we can get that Lombardi Trophy.” - Ronnie Brown
“Philip is like a coach on the field. He coaches us up as much as our own coaches do. There are ways he wants things done on the field and in the film room, and he does it all. I know they used to have a thing in basketball – a player/coach – and that is what Philip is basically. He is such a smart guy that he is helping us out with the little details of everything. He’ll make a great coach whenever he is done playing, but hopefully that’s not for a while.” – Eddie Royal
“We have a good quarterback, and when you have a good quarterback you have a chance to win every game you play. We are really confident going into this game and a big reason why is Philip. Look, anything can happen. We’re playing on the road, but shoot we are going there and we feel like we can get the job done. A big part of the team’s success is Philip. He’s the leader of the team and a major reason why we are where we are right now. We are lucky to have him. We have a pretty normal relationship when you have two guys play the same position, but we are also great friends outside of that.” - Charlie Whitehurst
“I remember watching Philip when I was playing at San Diego State, so to be in the playoffs with him now is crazy. I remember having days at State when the Chargers were in the playoffs and to be a part of it now with him, it’s crazy. Looking back, I watched him so much when I was in college it’s a crazy feeling still to be a part of that huddle with him. What Philip brings is a type of leadership that is rare. He wants to get it done. Especially being the young player I am, seeing how he leads and gets guys going, it’s a special thing. That is what really stands out to me.” - Vincent Brown
“Being in the playoffs is special for me, and a big reason why is because of Philip Rivers. He was my quarterback when I first came into the league, so to be going through all of this with him, it makes it special. To go on the run that we had winning these games, it makes it all that much sweeter. The impact Philip has on our team is unparalleled. He is obviously a leader as far as motivation. He plays at the highest level possible and everyone aspires to play at the level he plays at. He is the cornerstone of our team, and he gives us all a lot of confidence. As a receiver I know the ball is going to be there at the right place at the right time, and no one wants to let him down. He’s an emotional, fiery guy who everyone needs to play more like.” - Seyi Ajirotutu