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Rivers' commitment impresses

Posted Mar 11, 2011

Scheduled to speak at a conference in Phoenix, Philip Rivers’ flight plans were nixed. So he got in his car and made a 700-mile round trip to give a 20-minute talk.

SAN DIEGO – You’re scheduled to give a 20-minute presentation in Phoenix.

However, inclement weather makes you think your flight may not arrive on time.

What do you do?

If you’re Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers, you get in your car and drive. Rivers, scheduled to speak to 1,200 men on faith, family and football for Catholic Men’s Fellowship, completed the 350-mile drive and arrived an hour before he was due to speak.

After making the 20-minute presentation, he got back into his car and returned to San Diego.

Rivers told no one of the effort, which would’ve gone unnoticed but for a letter to the team from Terry Sweeney of Mesa, Ariz.

Sweeney did not attend the conference after waking up on Feb. 26 with the flu, but spoke with the event’s director, Mike Phelan, days later and learned the story.

“I cannot tell you in this day and age of star athletes how humbled I was to hear this, and how humble and special Philip Rivers truly is,” Sweeney wrote in a letter addressed to Chargers Owner Alex G. Spanos.

“As a man struggling to make ends meet myself, with six children of my own, I am in awe of Mr. Rivers. He has changed my life for good now, by this simple act, when I would have ‘packed it in.’”

Asked about the deed, Rivers declined to comment and said he did not want to draw attention to himself.

Phelan, director of Marriage and Respect Life for the Diocese of Phoenix, met Rivers backstage at the conference.

“I’m so impressed with him. I’ve met maybe seven, eight professional athletes and he struck me as by far the most humble,” Phelan said.

“Everybody would’ve understood if he said, ‘You know what, the flight’s not leaving. I’m not going to make it. I apologize.’ To take his commitment that seriously just says a lot about his character. Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve gone.”

Rivers emphasized integrity in his talk and told the audience that football goes better for him when he prioritizes his faith and family.

Phelan estimated Rivers got back to San Diego around 1 a.m. and said the quarterback also seemed to be fighting a cold.

Impressed, Sweeney wrote a letter to Rivers to ask for advice.

“I (wrote), ‘How did you do that?’” Sweeney said. “I hope he responds to me because I want to be like that. He made a commitment and he kept the commitment no matter what.”

Now, you can stay in touch with the team anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device with the official app of the San Diego Chargers.
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