Could Old Man Rivers be on the comeback trail?
That could be the case after a report on Tuesday suggested the Colts have discussed a reunion with Philip Rivers. Indianapolis starter Carson Wentz was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday and could miss Sunday’s game against the Raiders, leading to a quarterback conundrum and calls for Rivers to come out of retirement with the Colts in the thick of the playoff race.
The Athletic’s Zak Keefer said the Colts have “discussed” the option.
Colts need to call Philip Rivers. Have heard it’s being discussed.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 28, 2021
Rivers, who retired following the 2020 season, has left the door open on a return to the NFL should the right situation arise. With the high school football season over — Rivers was coaching at St. Michael in Alabama — this could provide an opportunity for the Colts to reunite with Rivers.
MORE: What Carson Wentz’s COVID absence means for Colts
The Colts, who are making a playoff push, currently sit in the fifth spot in the AFC, but it’s a precarious position: Win this Sunday, and they’re in. If they lose one or both of their two remaining games, their playoff odds take a dramatic plunge.
What we do know: Like all players who test positive, Wentz now gets a 90-day test holiday and thus isn’t at risk of missing any more games through Super Bowl LVI.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 28, 2021
The timeline for Rivers to be eligible to play this Sunday, a Week 17 matchup at home against the Raiders, is very tight: Rivers would have to test negative twice and enter a five-day screening period before taking a snap. That leaves virtually no room for practice time, assuming Rivers, the veteran, would need it.
If the Colts don’t make a last-second move for Rivers, the team would turn to rookie sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger for the start.
Ehlinger has appeared in three games this year in mop-up duty, attempting just three passes. He was a preseason standout and grabbed the QB2 job entering 2021.
Indianapolis signed Rivers to a one-year contract as a veteran stopgap in 2020 before trading for beleagured Eagles quarterback Wentz. Wentz has had an uneven first season in Indy, with the offense bolstered by MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor.
Now, it looks like a much shorter-term stopgap could be in the works.