COSTA MESA, Calif. — Philip Rivers will have the NFL’s longest active streak of consecutive starts by a quarterback after Eli Manning gets benched by the Giants this weekend.
And Rivers isn’t happy about it.
“I honestly thought it was pathetic, really,” Rivers said Wednesday when asked about the Giants’ decision.
“The guy, he’s been out there 210 straight games with no telling how many bumps and bruises and injuries for his team,” Rivers added before practice with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Won two Super Bowls, MVPs, the respect he’s had in the locker room over the years, really the respect he’s gained throughout the league, you feel like the guy has earned the opportunity, if they are deciding in fact to go another direction [after the season] . . . to finish off these last five weeks.”
Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts is expected to end Sunday when Geno Smith starts for the Giants against Oakland.
Rivers will start his 188th consecutive regular-season game on Sunday when the surging Chargers (5-6) host the winless Cleveland Browns.
Although Rivers and Manning aren’t close friends, their careers have been inextricably linked ever since both quarterbacks were chosen high in the 2004 draft and then traded for each other.
Rivers said he had been thinking a great deal about Manning since hearing the news.
“I just thought it was too bad, just the way it was handled,” Rivers said. “As a fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt. But he handled it like a pro, like he’s handled everything. But you just hate to see him . . . you felt he’s earned that. He’s earned that, to go out there for the last five weeks.”