Philip Rivers enters concussion protocol

Nov 12, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Since Drew Brees suffered what turned out to be a seminal shoulder injury in the then-San Diego Chargers‘ 2005 regular-season finale, there hasn’t been a question as to who this franchise’s starting quarterback was.

There could be in Week 11. Anthony Lynn announced Monday that Philip Rivers was in concussion protocol, putting his status for Sunday’s Chargers-Bills game in doubt.

Rivers has never missed a game since he became the Bolts’ starter in Week 1 of the 2006 season. With Rivers suiting up with the first-string offense in every game since that ’06 opener, the Chargers have enjoyed one of the most consistent quarterback situations in NFL history. The former New York Giants draft pick has made 185 straight starts; that’s the second-longest active streak. Only Eli Manning, a Chargers ’04 selection, has a longer active streak.

Should Rivers be unable to go Sunday, his longtime backup, Kellen Clemens, would receive the opportunity. Clemens has become one of the longer-tenured backup quarterbacks in recent NFL history. He’s been Rivers’ caddy since the 2014 season and backed up Chad Pennington, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford in seven seasons prior. Clemens has not started a game since the 2013 season, when he opened with the St. Louis Rams’ first unit nine times after Bradford went down.

Rivers notoriously played on a torn ACL in the 2007 AFC championship game, so the 35-year-old passer’s durability should obviously not be up for debate. But the 14th-year veteran needs to navigate several steps to get through the protocol, one of which includes being cleared by an independent neurologist before Los Angeles’ Week 11 tilt.

Cardale Jones would stand to be Clemens’ backup should Rivers miss his first game due to injury. The Chargers dropped to 3-6 with their 20-17 overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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