For years, Philip Rivers has said there is one phrase he values above all.
One thing he'd want to be known as, that he believes is the ultimate compliment.
It was passed down to him by his father, a high school coach back in Alabama, and one that still resonates to this day.
It's exactly that phrase he used to describe rookie Desmond King on Sunday after the defensive back's best game in the NFL.
"He's one that, if you ask my dad if he likes number 20, he'd say (he's) a heck of a football player. That's the best way to describe him. He's a blitzer. He plays and is sliding tackles. He recovers. You see him with his personality, the way he plays—he loves to play. I'm not saying I called it, but early on in the offseason, I was like, 'This guy can play.' You just saw something about him, that you knew he could play and start to see it. Two years ago, whatever he had—10 interceptions, eight, nine interceptions—then he starts piecing them together and you get it. You can see what he did in college. It's been good to see him. He's crafty, too. To play the slot, you have to have a balance of a little bit of saavy-ness, toughness, and craftiness. You've got to play. Are you blitzing, are you not blitzing, you've got to get a feel for all those things as well."
Fittingly enough, Rivers explained earlier this week why the term means so much to him.
"I was asked what word would I use and I always go back to what my dad would say (which) was, if he was giving out a compliment, he would describe (the guy) as a 'football player.' A 'heck of a football player.' I've always kind of kept that. When he said that about a guy, you knew he really liked that guy. I've kind of always wanted to see myself as that; a football player, and not just a quarterback."
Thus, it speaks volumes that Rivers uses that term to describe King.
While it's been a collective effort on defense, the youngster's play deserves to be singled out.
The fifth-round pick out of Iowa had a career-high 10 tackles along with his fourth sack of the season. He is now tied with Rodney Harrison for the second-most sacks in a season by a defensive back in Chargers history.
"When you look at the way Desmond is built, he can tackle," Head Coach Anthony said. "That's one of the things he did well in Iowa. He played the slot a lot. He played in the box and was a good tackler. He has a knack for getting around blocks and getting to the quarterback. He's been that way his whole life."
The Chargers face the Washington Redskins for a home game matchup.