Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, and that now leaves Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as the last player standing from the legendary quarterback draft class of 2004.
Rivers, who turned 39 years of age in December, spent his first 16 NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Chargers before signing with the Colts as a free agent for the 2020 season. Rivers, who was originally selected fourth overall by the New York Giants in the 2004 NFL Draft put of North Carolina State, finished his long career with 63,440 regular season passing yards, which is currently fifth overall in NFL history. Rivers threw for 421 touchdowns and 209 interceptions during his NFL career as well.
Rivers led his team to the postseason seven times in total. He compiled a 5-7 playoff record, but never was able to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Rivers was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, the AP’s NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2013, the NFL leader in passing yards in 2010 and touchdowns and passer rating in 2008.
After initially being selected No. 4 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Giants, Rivers was immediately traded to the Chargers for that year’s No. 1 choice, quarterback Eli Manning. Roethlisberger was later selected with the 11th overall pick by the Steelers. Luke McCown, Matt Schaub and J.P. Losman were the other more notable quarterbacks taken in later rounds of the 2004 NFL Draft.
Rivers, Manning and Roethlisberger all threw for over 57,000 passing yards in their careers and all three played at least 15 seasons in the NFL. Manning and Roethlisberger combining to win four Super Bowls in total
With Rivers and Schaub both now retiring so far this offseason, Roethlisberger is just one of three players from the entire 2004 NFL Draft class still active. The other two are Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee, both of whom played their college football at the University of Pittsburgh.
There’s currently strong speculation, however, that both Fitzgerald and Lee will also be retiring at some point this offseason. As for Roethlisberger, who is still under contract with the Steelers through the 2021 season, early speculation is that he will continue to play at least one more NFL season in Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger has since released a short statement on Rivers’ Wednesday retirement on his social media accounts and you can see and read it below.
Philip, what a career! An amazing competitor, winner & family man. It’s been fun to compete against u & watch u do your thing for so many years.
I know countless kids have been inspired by u & will benefit from your coaching & football knowledge in the future. God bless! — Ben. pic.twitter.com/KsZ7L5TjaR
— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) January 20, 2021