Chargers fans know the long history between Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, but whenever they get to share a field, it still carries special significance.
Though they haven't played each other in the regular season since 2016, the pair will take the field this Saturday for a preseason match between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers. It marks the second-straight year the two teams will meet in exhibition play.
But ahead of Saturday's game, the two took to Jack Hammett Sports Complex for a series of joint practices between the teams.
As Chargers fans know, Rivers sat behind Brees for two years before eventually taking over the reins at starting quarterback. After practice on Wednesday, number 17 mentioned how fortunate they both are to have authored such successful careers in this league.
"Those first two years, I enjoyed working with him and competing, and then it worked out," Rivers said. "(It) worked out well for him. He's had a heck of a run in New Orleans; won a championship. And I've been able to have some longevity here with the Chargers. It is unique, and Drew and I have always kept in touch. I've always pulled for him from afar."
The Bolts take on the Saints in the second annual QB Challenge at Training Camp.
Rivers has been open about how those two years behind Brees were key for his development. As he enters his 15th season in the league, he reminisced on how much he learned back in the day. It wasn't even what Brees said that resonated with him as much as what he did that left a lasting impact.
"I don't remember anything he said, I just remember the way he went about his work," Rivers added. "He was unbelievable in his preparation and week to week, it didn't matter if we won, lost, he threw the game winner, he threw the pick to (lose the) game; he was the same guy all week long and that was good for me to see another guy do it. It's a long season. You're going to have a turnover. You're going to make some bad plays. You're going to win some big-time games if you come from behind. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you've got to be the same no matter what. He didn't tell me that, but I saw that every day in those two years."
Although they competed and have since gone on to have individual success, the pair remains close. From coaching their sons to keeping in touch, the bond that was originally formed in 2004 remains unbreakable.
"One year we set up a little intersquad game with his son's flag team and ours in a park in 4S Ranch so that was pretty cool… We both have big families, and he's back and forth from New Orleans. And we go back to the south quite a bit during our downtime, (so) we've always kept in touch. I know I can speak from my standpoint, I've always had a great respect for him as a man and as a player and what he's been able to do in this league. He's probably going to go down as the all-time league passer in the history of the game, so that's pretty awesome."