Philip Rivers remembers his first pass as a rookie at Chargers Park like it was yesterday.
Luckily, his last practice on the fields he's called home for over a decade went a bit differently.
"My last practice today went better than my first," he joked. "I threw an interception my first pass (as a rookie), so I was a little better today. My last one ended better than my first one did just about 13 years ago and some change. But gosh, (there's) a lot of football memories on the field, but more than that, off the field probably just (with) all the time spent with guys…But I did wear them out today. I finished with a win out there with the QB drills."
That doesn't mean number 17 didn't have nerves getting ready for the final day of mini camp.
"I had sweaty hands and was nervous before practice. I was like, 'What is wrong with me?!' I'm going into the last mini camp practice in year 14, and here I am nervous before going out there. It was a little bit ridiculous. But it was because of that."
Rivers has poured in countless hours leading to endless memories over his 14 years at Chargers Park. Thursday's end to mini camp marked the final time he'll step foot on the practice fields as the team won't take the field again until kicking off training camp in Costa Mesa.
As he walked off the field, dozens of media members wanted to know what was going through number 17's mind. Moreover, how sad of an occasion was the final practice at the facility?
"Sad to me is probably too strong of a word," he corrected them. "There are a lot of things that are sad that people are dealing with. Sad is probably a little too strong. But (it's been) emotional…. Sad is not the word, but I think thankful. Shoot, it's been awesome."
While it is bittersweet to say goodbye to a place that has meant a lot to him professionally and personally, the quarterback explained what excites him as he heads north to LA.
"I think anything that is new is exciting. What's the atmosphere going to be like at the first home preseason game? What's the training camp site (going to be like). All those things. Anything new is always exciting. The unknown. As you've seen, once you get out practicing around the guys, things do seem normal. We will find that new normal moving up the road. We're coming off two tough years, but it's a team that fully expects to win a lot of football games. I'm really looking forward to it."
There's a famous Latin saying that Rivers has adopted as over the years.
Nunc Coepi – Now We Begin.
As he packs up his locker and gets ready for training camp to begin next month, he noted the motto may ring true now more than ever.
"It is only right for me to be fired up to go up there, and know that everyone up there is going to get the same guy that I've been here for the last 13 years."