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Rivers’ focus in on Giants D, not Eli

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Nov 4, 2009
    With the history between Philip Rivers, Eli Manning and the Chargers, San Diego’s starting quarterback acknowledges it’s an interesting side story for Sunday’s game at Giants Stadium, but isn’t getting caught up in it.

    As the Chargers prepare to travel to the East Coast to play a nationally-televised game against the NFL’s Super Bowl champion from two year ago, quarterback Philip Rivers[​IMG] has just one thing on his mind.
    Eli Manning, right?
    “I’ve got my hands full with that defense and what we’re trying to get done offensively,” Rivers said. “Certainly I think he (Eli) and I being linked in that trade and being in the same draft, it’s fun as a side note, but it’s another game on the schedule. It’s a big game, but none of those things play any part in the mindset or approach.”
    Rivers, who was property of the Giants for approximately 45 minutes after New York selected him fourth overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, said Wednesday that it feels like ages ago since the trade that sent him to the Chargers occurred. He’s heard the unending debates regarding which team got the better end of the deal, and while he said it’s not his job to determine, he joke that he does have a little bias when evaluating it.
    “I like to think we did in how we’ve progressed and what we’ve been able to build here over the past few years,” Rivers said. “We’re still gunning for that championship and the Giants won it a couple years ago. We haven’t reached the ultimate goal here yet, but certainly it helped put together a group of guys that had a huge impact on this team.”
    Those “guys” formed the cornerstone around which the current Chargers were built. In addition to attaining Rivers’ rights in the deal for Manning, the Chargers received a third-round pick in that year’s draft. They used that selection on kicker Nate Kaeding[​IMG], who went to the Pro Bowl following the 2006 season and is currently the team’s fourth all-time leading scorer, and in franchise history only John Carney and Rolf Benirschke have made more field goals.
    San Diego also received New York’s first and fifth-round picks in 2005. The first-rounder was used to take Shawne Merriman[​IMG], a three-time Pro Bowler who won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2005.
    The Chargers traded the fifth-round pick to Tampa in exchange for Roman Oben, who anchored the crucial left tackle position for two years, including the team’s first playoff season in a decade. Oben was also a leader who helped groom young stalwarts like Nick Hardwick[​IMG] and eventually Marcus McNeill[​IMG] to become Pro Bowlers and fixtures on the offensive line.
    Prior to the trade, the Chargers went nine seasons between postseason appearances. Since the Manning-Rivers swap, San Diego has won four AFC West titles, including the last three in a row.
    “It wasn’t just a me-for-him trade,” Rivers said. “Certainly the picks and acquisitions we got with that and the impact that those players made and continue to make are huge. It’s had a big impact on this franchise over the last five or six years.”
    While Rivers is aware of the way many San Diego fans feel about Manning due to the way the Ole Miss quarterback voiced his desire to not play for the Chargers, Rivers doesn’t share in the distaste.
    He and Manning aren’t close friends, but the two think highly of each other and have known one another since 2003 when Rivers attended the passing camp that Eli, his father Archie and brothers Peyton and Cooper annually host each summer. After the Giants won the Super Bowl in February of 2008, Rivers sent Manning a congratulatory text message.
    “That meant a lot,” Manning said Wednesday via conference call with the San Diego media. “I’ve always had great respect for Philip. He’s a wonderful person. It’s fun being around him. He’s a tremendous competitor. He’s one of the quarterbacks that I enjoy watching play.”

    Manning also said Wednesday that he has no regrets over the way things transpired in April of 2004 and he couldn’t be more pleased with the way things have panned out.
    “I was hoping it could have been solved in not such a messy way, but I was willing to take that,” Manning said. “It’s not the way you want to go into the NFL. It’s an exciting day. You’re getting drafted and going into the NFL. You’re supposed to be fired up and excited. It’s a different way of going into it but it was still a great day and it turned out well. I’m excited to be here in New York and Philip is excited to be in San Diego. Hopefully both teams and organizations and players feel that everything worked out the best.”
    As for Rivers, a small-town Southerner who often wears Piggly Wiggly t-shirts and cowboys boots, he can’t imagine what life would have been like had he ended up playing in New York.
    “I think I like it here a whole lot better,” Rivers said with a smile. “It certainly fits me a little more out here. I feel like I made out on the good side of the deal in many ways. I’m glad to be in San Diego and hopefully I can help the Chargers go to New York this weekend and get a big victory.”

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