INDIANAPOLIS — For Philip Rivers, football and family have always been intertwined.
So it should come as no surprise the new Indianapolis Colts quarterback has chosen a unique workout partner this spring — his 12-year-old son, Gunner.
Colts head coach Frank Reich presents his players with a “Drill of the Day” challenge to help foster competition while on-field work is limited because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players are asked to have someone take a video of them performing the drill and then send the result to their position coach.
It’s a way to keep the teaching aspect of the game alive at a safe social distance.
Rivers spent a recent session working out with his son, alternating throws into a net during a check-down drill.
“I got to see his son throw some,” Reich said Monday during a conference call with local media. “That was pretty fun because I knew his son — I obviously know his son from before when we coached together (in San Diego). So it’s fun to see how he’s grown and developed.”
Reich expects to be able to watch that growth and development firsthand for a few more years.
There’s been much speculation about Rivers’ one-year contract in light of the 38-year-old accepting a head-coach-in-waiting job at an Alabama high school earlier this month.
Rivers has never hidden his desire to coach his sons in high school football, an experience he enjoyed with his father, Steve. And Reich said he’s been aware of the quarterback’s post-football plans dating back at least five years to their time together with the Chargers.
Rivers even broached the topic during his introductory conference call in March, while also noting he doesn’t have a firm timetable for transitioning away from his playing career.
But both the quarterback and the team have expressed a willingness to continue their relationship beyond the 2020 season.
“I do feel good. I feel great,” Rivers said. “If I feel like I feel right now next year, then I’ll be excited to keep going. Again, depending on how the team feels about that and etc. So, I don’t know. I don’t have a number on it.”
Reich has enjoyed getting back into a meeting room with Rivers and working to tailor the offense to the quarterback’s preferences.
Rivers has been vocal and engaged in those meetings, and Reich is happy with the way the install is progressing given the restrictions.
The head coach is also confident Rivers’ stay in Indianapolis will be extended.
“It’s the NFL,” Reich said. “We know he’s got to prove it. We’ve got to prove it as a team to keep him wanting to play. I can just tell you from the previous relationship, I really believe it is Philip’s intent to play multiple years.
“I personally believe he is more than capable of (playing) multiple years.”
Of more immediate concern is the timing for Rivers’ on-field introduction to his new teammates.
The Colts reopened their team headquarters Monday with limited personnel, and only players rehabbing injuries are allowed inside the building.
But there’s a growing sense players will begin returning to Indianapolis soon, and that should offer opportunities for group interactions outside the purview of the coaching staff. Three rookies — wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon and quarterback Jacob Eason — already have gotten together outside the state for safe workouts.
“I know this is generally speaking the plan, that at some point Philip will be moving here to Indy, sooner rather than later,” Reich said. “Then more and more guys will get back to Indy, and then as it’s allowed, we can get out on fields. It won’t be our field, but he’ll get together with receivers.
“He’ll throw with them. Right now, that hasn’t happened a whole lot, but I would anticipate that ramping up in the coming weeks.”
The Colts have signed seven of their nine picks from last month’s NFL Draft.
Eason, linebacker Jordan Glasgow, Patmon, offensive lineman Danny Pinter, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, running back Jonathan Taylor and defensive tackle Robert Windsor have agreed to terms.
Only second-round wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and third-round defensive back Julian Blackmon remain unsigned.
Indianapolis announced its full preseason schedule with dates and times Monday.
The Colts will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. on FOX-59. The Washington Redskins visit Lucas Oil Stadium on Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN.
Indianapolis travels to the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 29 for a 4 p.m. kickoff on FOX-59 and visits the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. also on FOX-59.