The drawl remains the same, even heading into his 12th year as being a Cali.
“As much as the noise as there has been on the outside, for the most part, for me, it has been go as usual,’’ Philip Rivers said.
San Diego’s favorite arm from south of the Mason Dixon line was holding court this week. The Chargers are back practicing — news flash: in San Diego! — and Rivers was back reminding us how special he is.
It was a roller-coaster offseason for Rivers, and this has nothing to do with keeping up with his wife and seven children.
There was talk of Rivers being traded to the Tennessee Titans, so the Chargers could draft his replacement, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
None could duck the chatter of the Chargers possibly relocating to the Los Angeles area, which Rivers embraced like a check-down option when a receiver is open deep.
Rivers made it clear uprooting his family to go up north was a move in the wrong direction.
Then there was the conversation regarding Rivers’ contract. He’s entering the final year of his deal and the deal usually with franchise quarterbacks is they are extended before becoming free agents.
When Rivers balked at the Chargers’ initial overtones, doom-and-gloom ascended on San Diego as if May Gray was on steroids.
But there was a smiling, engaged Rivers outside his second favorite place — the Chargers’ locker room — swearing he’s all in for 2015.
While the Chargers’ brass tries to find Rivers weapons — and the team’s executives shoot in all directions for a new venue — Rivers has stayed the course.
For more than 10 minutes Rivers explained his thoughts, in his way, which is a mix of Mayberry and macho.
While Rivers spoke at ease, he admitted his quiet months came with plenty of reflection. Not only did the Chargers miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, but Rivers was one banged-up No. 17 with back and rib injuries.
Rivers said, finally, he’s healthy and hyped.
“It was the natural progression,’’ Rivers said, respectfully wearing a camouflage Chargers cap one day after Memorial Day. “From down in the dumps to starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and you get back to getting excited again.
“You see personnel changes. You loose buddies who have been there with you. You go through that progression, and then you get excited about the guys who have been brought in to replace them.
“Then you get on the practice field, and you start looking, and you go, ‘Man, we can be pretty good.’’’
Let’s hope so, for Rivers’ sake.
Among the franchise’s biggest blemishes is not surrounding its elite quarterback with a more well-rounded squad. One playoff win in six seasons, with a talent like Rivers, is a crime.
But here we go again, with Rivers being optimistic. That’s no headline, as Rivers kept reminding everyone when the Chargers were 4-8 in 2013 that they would make the playoffs.
Rivers was right. And all was right in the Chargers’ world for the 10 minutes that Rivers steadied himself at the podium.
It’s been a lousy five months for Chargers fans.
They’ve seen their beloved team join with the Oakland Raiders to potentially build a sports palace in Carson.
They’ve heard the Chargers are keeping an eye on Inglewood, as a possible co-tenant for the Rams’ proposed new digs.
They’ve experienced the Chargers drop-kicking every idea the Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group has broached, in trying to keep the NFL in San Diego.
But it all circled back this week, when we were reminded how special it is to have Rivers.
He’s a keeper — always has been — and don’t you wish we could say the same about the Chargers?
Rivers said it would be “awesome” if he retired as a Charger and he would “listen” about a new contract.
But before getting to end, there’s a fresh beginning.
“We still haven’t reached our ultimate goal,’’ Rivers said. “Because it hasn’t been good enough.’’
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports.