(May 28) Star NFL quarterback Philip Rivers sometimes gets sneered at for his devout Christian faith, but that isn’t stopping him from using old-timey values to plan for his post-playing-days career. Today’s NFL may market itself with hypersexualized glitz and glamour, but Rivers is a throwback to the days of upstanding citizens such as his fellow native Alabamian, Hall of Famer Bart Starr.

Rivers, who for 16 years has racked up lofty statistics for the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before signing with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, is nearing retirement. By now, the template for retiring NFL stars is familiar: They become high-paid game announcers, TV ad pitchmen, NFL assistant coaches, or big-money investors in high-profile businesses. Not Rivers. He’s going small-ball.

Rivers has signed to be head coach-in-waiting, for whenever he retires from the league (after one or two more years), for a small Catholic high school founded just three years ago in coastal Alabama. St. Michael School’s football team has won only three games, against 18 losses, since it began.

This is hardly the stuff of glamour, but Rivers, whose father coached high school at the other end of the state, said it fulfills a lifelong dream: “I had two childhood dreams. One was to play in the NFL, and I’m now going into my 17th season. The other was to be a high school football coach as my dad was. How blessed am I to be able to live both of those out!”….

Rivers has long been treated as somewhat of an oddball by the secular media. The site Deadspin wrote, mockingly aghast, that with a seventh child on the way, he was an “intense weirdo.” About the same time, ESPN relayed a viewer’s comment saying that “it’s impossible to be a good parent with six kids.” Later, with child No. 8 in hand, sports talk show host Dan Patrick expressed incredulity when Rivers said he wanted No. 9: “Does your wife know that you want to have more?”

Like many devout Catholics, the Rivers value large families. Child No. 9, named Anna, was born last year.

Rivers says St. Michael won’t be a short-term gig….

[The full column is here.]


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