ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Defensive end Shaun Phillips spent his first nine NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Sunday he'll play in San Diego for the first time as a visitor – chasing down Philip Rivers, a quarterback he's very familiar with.
He and Rivers both joined the Chargers as rookies in 2004.
"Me and Philip go way back to the Senior Bowl," Phillips said. "We played against each other in the Senior Bowl and we were jawing back and forth. Like I think I hit him one play and the next play he threw a pass and he jawed back at me. So it's just all out of friendly competition in football and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a hit or two on him and I'm pretty sure he's looking to make a play or two on me."
Phillips added that he expects some of that talk to resurface on Sunday but "all out of love." He went on to say that he considers Rivers a "great person and a great player."
The Chargers spent their fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft on Phillips and he racked up 69.5 sacks in his time with the team. This offseason, Phillips brought that production to Denver when he signed with the Broncos in April.
So far this season, Phillips leads the Broncos with six and a half sacks for 49 yards and he is tied with fellow defensive end Robert Ayers for the team lead with six tackles for loss.
"I'm in a great situation," Phillips said. "(We are) 7-1, we're going to play a good team down in San Diego and I'm still playing football. I love playing football. Again, there are no hard feelings. I just want to go out there and win. Winning makes everything feel good."
He said that it will be fun for him to go back and play against his old teammates but that for the most part Sunday would be "business as usual." That business means limiting the success of Rivers who has been the most accurate passer in the NFL this season.
Rivers leads the NFL in completion percentage – connecting on 72.2 percent of his attempts.
"I got to play with Philip so I think he's a great player and he's more of a competitor than anything," Phillips said. "He's not going to just go out there and throw up a couple passes. He's going out there to win, he's going out there to compete to win because it's a division opponent and it's a home game for them. It's just a big game."