Chargers sign rookie quarterback Rivers

Originally Published: August 23, 2004
Associated Press

CARSON, Calif. -- Rookie quarterback Phillip Rivers ended his lengthy holdout, agreeing to terms on six-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.

The contract will pay Rivers $40.5 million, including a $14.25 million signing bonus. He can earn $10 million more in incentives.

Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said Rivers was driving to the team's training camp from San Diego and was expected to sign the contract late Monday or early Tuesday.

Rivers, taken by the New York Giants with the No. 4 pick in this year's draft, was acquired by Chargers in the deal that sent quarterback Eli Manning to New York. Manning was selected by San Diego with the No. 1 overall pick.

Rivers missed four weeks of training camp and two preseason games.

The 6-foot-5 Rivers is unlikely to get the starting job immediately. In his absence, three-year veteran Drew Brees has performed well and will likely lead the team at the start of the season.

In addition to Brees, the Chargers have two other healthy quarterbacks on the roster: free agent Joe Germaine and Cleo Lemon, the team's No. 3 quarterback last season. Doug Flutie is expected to miss several weeks following surgery on his left knee.

Rivers was a four-year starter at North Carolina State, and was the MVP of all five bowl games he played in during college, including the Senior Bowl.

He set an NCAA record with 51 career starts and is the second-leading passer in NCAA history with 13,484 yards. He completed 72 percent of his passes last year, with 34 touchdowns. In four seasons, he threw 95 TD passes and completed 64 percent of his attempts.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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