Philip Rivers: ‘I do want to play football’ next season

Philip Rivers’ contract is set to expire at the end of the year — which has been a rough one for both the 16-year veteran and the Los Angeles Chargers.

While there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding his next steps, Rivers knows that he wants to be out on the field when next season rolls around.

That much, in his mind, is abundantly clear.

“I’m capable enough physically and mentally, there’s no question,” Rivers said Sunday, via ESPN. “Yes, I do want to play football. I do, and that’s how I feel deep down as I stand here.”

Rivers went 27-of-39 for 279 yards on Sunday in the Chargers’ 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders, their fifth loss in six games. 

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While he’s still on pace to put up similar numbers this season as he has in recent years — Rivers has thrown for more than 4,200 yards this season while completing more than 65 percent of his passes, in the same range as his last four years with the Chargers — he’s turning the ball over a lot. 

Rivers has thrown 18 interceptions already this season, the second-most in the NFL behind only Jameis Winston. And, perhaps most importantly, the Chargers aren’t winning. They’ll finish this season with their third losing record over the past five seasons and miss the postseason for the fifth time since 2013.

Given that he’s 38 years old, Rivers understands why the criticism surrounding his game may be getting louder. He, though, just doesn’t see it yet.

“It's probably human nature when you're 38 and you throw some interceptions in games and they don't go the way you want them to, that it can become, and that's what people say, ‘You can't make the throw you used to make’ or ‘You can't do this’ — arm strength and all of that,” Rivers said, via ESPN. “And just none of that is true. I've made some throws this year that have been as good as throws that I've made in any years of my career, but I'm not here to sell that. 

“So physically and what I'm able to do is just what I was able to do last year when we were rolling and having one of our best years. Even in some of these games the last few weeks, we've had some really good plays offensively.”

Though he’s spent his entire career with the Chargers, Rivers knows it’s not up to him completely if he’s going to end his career there. The feeling has to be mutual.

So until a decision is made, Rivers said he plans to take time to step away from the game and talk it over with his family. 

But regardless of where he ends up next season, Rivers knows he is still capable of performing at a high level.

“There's a lot of factors,” Rivers said, via ESPN. “There's a personal side and family side to mine. I'm going to have a daughter in college as well, too. So time is ticking, and I've got a sixth-grade son that I've got to get ready to coach at some point, so there's all kinds of factors.

“But I know I can still do it, and I know I can still do it at a high enough level for us to win. I have not done it well enough this year, but I still do love to play, and love to lead these guys and this team. It's been an array of things that have compounded, to keep us from winning enough games to advance into the tournament.”

Philip Rivers, whose contract is set to expire, said he wants to return to the field next season. (Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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