Colts GM Chris Ballard -- Philip Rivers has said he's 'not 100% sure' he still wants to play in 2021

 espn.com  01/14/2021 20:42:39 
3:36 PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts and Philip Rivers are going to take about the next month to self-examine what they believe is best for each side when it comes to the quarterback position, general manager Chris Ballard said during his season-ending media session Thursday.

Rivers, for the second straight offseason, is contemplating retiring from the NFL. He has already accepted a high school football head-coaching job in Alabama once he retires.

"I didn't commit either way," Ballard said. "What I told Philip was, we need to both take a month and decide what direction we go. This is after he told me, 'Chris, I'm not 100 percent sure.' Do we want Philip back? Yes. But I told Philip we have to go through the process. I have to do my job."

The Colts signed Rivers to a one-year, $25 million contract in March 2020 after he spent the first 16 years of his career with the Chargers. Rivers led the Colts to an 11-5 record and the playoffs while throwing for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. He also moved into the top five in NFL history in touchdown passes and passing yards this season.

Re-signing Rivers would be a no brainer if he were younger. But the reality is he'll be 40 in November, which brings into question how much longer he can produce at a high level.

"If this is a 30-year-old Philip Rivers or a 35-year-old Philip Rivers, we're not having this talk, but this is a 39-year-old Philip Rivers who might have one, maybe two years left," Ballard said. "... Your skill set declines as you get older. Age is undefeated. It just is. For me, [for Rivers] to be able to figure out a different way to play and win was pretty fun to watch this year."

As Rivers takes his time deciding what's next for him, Colts coach Frank Reich, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady will continue to evaluate quarterbacks around the NFL and in this year's draft class.

Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, like Rivers, will be a free agent this season, leaving rookie Jacob Eason as the only quarterback under contract for the Colts.

"If Philip had five years left, we wouldn't be having this discussion, but we need to explore everything," Ballard reiterated. "I don't want to see headlines, though, saying we're moving on from Rivers."

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