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Rivers: "Not Satisfied, But Nothing to Be Ashamed of"
Unfortunately for the San Diego Chargers, that day came Sunday when they fell to the Denver Broncos 24-17.
The abrupt nature of a playoff loss stings mightily. Teams work so hard and get so close to the ultimate goal only to come up just short. Slowly but surely the fact that there are no more practices, no more meetings and eight months to go before the next regular season game begins start to seep in.
That’s why for Philip Rivers, while the Chargers advanced farther than any of the previous non-playoff teams had, this defeat hurt the most.
“It feels worse now than the last three years felt, but the last three years were worse because now we were one of eight left,” he said. “Every team is going to feel like we feel today except the team that wins it all.”
When Head Coach Mike McCoy addressed the team after the loss, he acknowledged how tough it is to lose a game like this, but he wanted his team to hold their heads high.
“Right now it’s not the best time to talk about all the good things they did over the year because everyone is down right now, but I told the players keep (to) keep their heads high,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy. They did a lot of good things this year. We got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. They all bought in from the top down. As a head coach, I’m very pleased with the way the players played and showed up every day.”
Still, while it is sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees in the immediate moments after a loss, Rivers knows there is a lot to be proud of.
“I don’t think it’s too early,” he continued. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, the way we fight together, the way we play hard, the way we compete and the character of this team. You can hold your head high because you gave it your all. It doesn’t mean you think it’s okay, but to bounce back from five and seven and be in this position, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Obviously we’re not satisfied and it’s not okay by any means, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Like Rivers, Nick Hardwick has been a rock for the Chargers for the last decade. He has seen a lot over his years, and he will always think back with fond memories of this year’s squad.
“The season always ends abruptly,” he said. “This locker room has got to be proud, though. In one season we’ve turned around this organization and we are heading in the right direction. Guys have the right mindset about them; there’s a lot of pride in this room who fought through a lot of injuries this year and gave until they couldn’t give anymore.”
D.J. Fluker may only be a rookie, but he too is proud of the tremendous heart and spirit the team showed.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team and to be a part of an organization like the Chargers,” he said emotionally. “I look around this team and I’m proud to be a part of it. Being around Philip Rivers to our running backs to our defensive line to Donald Butler and Eric Weddle, I do feel like it is a blessing. I couldn’t be happier to live and die with my team and these teammates. They’ve been outstanding all season.”
Ronnie Brown, meanwhile, is a nine-year veteran. But like the rookie Fluker, he knows that it was a special group of guys that comprised the 2013 Chargers.
“When I think of this team I’ll always remember that we just fought,” he said. We had a tough resolve. A lot of people counted us out when we lost a couple early ones that we shouldn’t have, but our whole mentality was to get to the playoffs no matter what it took. I think it showed these last few weeks of the season.”