He was talking about not over-analyzing the situation because of the danger of simply investing too much thought.
“He knows that I know that he knows, you know what I mean?” Philip Rivers said, quite seriously. Then he added, “And vice versa.”
That about sums up the deep relationship between the Chargers quarterback and Baltimore safety Eric Weddle, a relationship that will be on display Saturday night at StubHub Center.
The two longtime teammates and all-time friends will battle as opponents, something they’ve done plenty of times in the past but never outside of practice.
“He’s one of the best men I’ve ever been around and look up to in a lot of ways,” Weddle told the media in Maryland on Wednesday. “So I’m grateful that I can say he’s one of my friends, one of my brothers.”
The two were teammates for nine seasons starting in 2007, after the Chargers drafted Weddle in the second round.
During that time, they frequently tested one another on the practice field and then later would rehash the day’s events in the locker room.
Rivers and Weddle still talk and text regularly, including this week when they exchanged congratulations on both making the Pro Bowl.
After the Ravens beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, Rivers sent a text message officially acknowledging their first game in opposing colors.
“He was like, ‘All right, great win,’ ” Weddle said. “ ‘Now, we can begin. Now, let’s get after it.’ ”
As teammates, they often dissected plays from practice from their differing perspectives. Weddle said they would sit in the hot tub and go into great detail about every snap.
Because of this familiarity, there’s a notion that Weddle and his Baltimore teammates could have an advantage Saturday, some weighty inside information few opponents have on Rivers.
“We'll find out early on how much of that will go on,” Rivers said. “I mean, that would go on about every day, multiple times a day on the practice field. Of course, you could hear a little bit [more] then. It's just us on the practice field.
“I don't want to make too much of it. I don't imagine he’s going to over-analyze everything he hears [Saturday].”
Weddle’s thorny departure from the Chargers adds another level of intrigue.
He signed a four-year, $26-million free-agent deal with the Ravens after a breakup that included the Chargers making it clear they were not interested in retaining him at that price.
During his final season in San Diego, Weddle was fined $10,000 for watching his daughter perform at halftime of a game, kept on the sidelines because of an injury he claimed was not serious and barred from the team plane for the finale.
He downplayed all of that this week, insisting the game is much more relevant because of its playoff implications for both teams.
“I have no discomfort, hatred, whatever,” Weddle said. “That was almost four years ago, really, in my timeline, and they’ve moved. They’re basically a different team to me, and I wish them well.”
He has started all 46 games since joining the Ravens and remains their signal-caller on defense. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh praised everything from Weddle’s play to his leadership to his spirit.
On Saturday, the Chargers might be subjected to Weddle’s insight.
“Nobody’s panicking in here about what he may know, and I don't think he's panicking about what I may know about stuff from him,” Rivers said. “I think it adds a little spice to it. But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to get first downs and score points.”
When the Chargers brought in first-round draft pick Derwin James this year, returning safety Adrian Phillips was one of the players who spent hours with him studying tape, trying to get him better prepared for his rookie season.
That was the story defensive coordinator Gus Bradley shared Wednesday, noting that Phillips did so even though he and James would be competing for playing time at the same position.
On Tuesday, James and Phillips both made their first Pro Bowl together, Phillips achieving the status in his fifth NFL season after not being drafted coming out of Texas.
“What a great story for us to say, ‘See? That's how it works. When you give with no intent to receive, it comes back two-fold,’ ” Bradley said about Phillips. “That’s why I think the story is so cool for him. He's an unbelievable teammate.”
The Chargers had a league-high seven players picked for the Pro Bowl, the group including Rivers, Keenan Allen, Mike Pouncey, Melvin Gordon and Melvin Ingram.
Phillips, who has played extensively this season in the Chargers’ various defensive packages, made the Pro Bowl for his work on special teams despite not being on the initial fan ballot.
“I had no idea,” he said. “I wasn’t even on the list. I had no expectations that I would even be recognized. Just to hear that I was like, ‘Wow.’ ”