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Philip Rivers, who played 16 seasons with the Chargers before signing with the Colts last season, announced his retirement on Wednesday. Ed Zurga/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — When Philip Rivers first started tossing footballs as a high school ball boy, he heaved them any way he could. The throwing motion stuck – and success soon followed.

Rivers used that strange, shot put-like style to land a college scholarship, become a first-round draft pick and eventually string together one of the greatest 17-year careers in NFL history. On Wednesday, the 39-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his retirement.

“Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.”

Rivers was one of a kind. Between his trademark throwing style and his penchant for trash-talking without cussing, he carved out his own niche in the NFL.

There’s no doubt Rivers could sling it.

When he threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns in his second college game, then-Indiana Hoosiers coach and future NFL head coach Cam Cameron proclaimed that the North Carolina State freshman had a future in the NFL.

After being selected fourth overall in the 2004 draft, he was quickly traded from the New York Giants for Eli Manning. Rivers spent the next two seasons backing up Drew Brees in San Diego before taking over as the starter when Brees left in free agency.

His 240 consecutive regular-season starts was the second-longest streak since 1970, trailing only Brett Favre (297), and it was one of the few stats Rivers cherished.

“It’s certainly important to me and I’m thankful that I’ve been healthy enough to be out there,” Rivers said in November. “I do think there is something about that availability, being there each and every week.”

Rivers won 134 career games – No. 2 among quarterbacks without a Super Bowl ring – and was eighth all time. Only Tom Brady (230), two-time Super Bowl champs Peyton Manning (186) and Ben Roethlisberger (156), Brees (172) and Hall of Famers Brett Favre (186), John Elway (148) and Dan Marino (147) won more regular-season games than Rivers.

He also finished his career ranked fifth in career completions (5,277), yards passing (63,440) and touchdown passes (421), and as the Chargers’ franchise record-holder in every major passing category.

LIONS: Detroit agreed to terms with Dan Campbell to be its head coach.

The Lions announced the agreement with the New Orleans Saints tight ends coach one day after formally introducing Brad Holmes as their general manager.

Campbell, who also had the title of assistant head coach with the Saints, has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a coach and 11 as a player. He was 5-7 as interim coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015. Campbell, who is from Clifton, Texas, was a standout tight end at Texas A&M and was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants in 1999. He had 91 career receptions for 934 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Giants, Dallas, Detroit and New Orleans.

Campbell, who played for the Lions from 2006-08, is the first former player to lead the franchise since Hall of Famer and two-time NFL champion Joe Schmidt was Detroit’s coach from 1967-72.

“Dan’s passion for this opportunity was evident throughout our interview process,” Lions President Rod Wood said. “When we began the search for a head coach, it was imperative that we find the right leader who values our commitment to building a winning culture based on organizational alignment and collaboration. The leadership Dan has exemplified throughout his football career has prepared him for this next step, and we are excited to support him as our new head coach.”

Team owner Sheila Ford Hamp fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia in November. Patricia, a former New England defensive coordinator, was 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons as a first-time NFL head coach.

The Lions finished 5-11 last season – their 13th season with double-digit losses this century – and have only one playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.


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