ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Shaun Phillips is in a good place.
With the Denver Broncos (7-1) visiting San Diego (4-4) on Sunday, the 32-year-old pass rusher who spent nine seasons with the Chargers wants to clear up a few things:
He holds no grudges.
He harbors no regrets.
He can’t wait to renew his trash talk with Philip Rivers.
The Chargers let Phillips go in free agency after he’d collected 69½ sacks over nine seasons.
“Everyone is like, ‘I know you’re (ticked) off.’ But I’m not (ticked) off. I made a lot of money and a lot plays and made a lot of friends in San Diego,” Phillips said. “The fun part is going back to play against your old friends.”
The Broncos needed another pass-rusher after losing Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore following the infamous fax foul-up, and they signed Phillips, who had 9½ sacks last season, to a one-year deal for $1 million.
Switching from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a defensive end position in Denver’s 4-3 scheme, Phillips has provided a fantastic return on that investment.
He’s collected 6½ sacks, six tackles for loss, eight quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. Moreover, he’s served as a veteran locker room leader for the Broncos, who were without the services of star linebacker Von Miller for the first six games of the season.
Interim head coach Jack Del Rio said Phillips “brought a certain element to our defense that we would miss without him.”
Phillips said he’s in “a great situation … and I’m still playing football.”
So, it’s all good.
And he’s also thrilled to face Rivers in a game again.
The two entered the league together in 2004 a few months after they faced each other in the Senior Bowl, where their talents and their trash talk were on full display.