Philip Rivers was a gift to San Diego — a football star who embraced us when Eli Manning thumbed his nose at the Spanoses, a down-home celebrity who treated folks with respect, a kindly neighbor who along with his wife, Tiffany, found homes for foster children.
Rivers, who announced Wednesday his quarterback career is over, now leaves the NFL for a place whose name sounds true to Rivers: Fairhope, an Alabama town on the shores of Mobile Bay.
So it’s Fairhope, for the man Nick Hardwick, his longtime Chargers center, described as a “pure soul.”
Rivers, 39, will exchange blue for red, and swap a helmet for a coach’s whistle. He’ll direct the football Cardinals of St. Michael Catholic High School, home to 391 students.
His spiral-throwing son, Gunner Rivers, will stand to become Coach Rivers’ quarterback down the road. If that happens, it’ll run a thread to when Rivers played high-school ball for his dad, Steve, who favored an option ground attack for his gritty son, despite his gift for passing.
From there for Rivers, it was on to North Carolina State and then the San Diego Chargers via a 2004 draft-day trade that sent Manning to the New York Giants. Last March, Rivers joined the Indianapolis Colts, for whom he threw his final pass 11 days ago — a Hail Mary — in a 27-24 playoff loss at Buffalo.
As for his NFL legacy, it begins here:…