Jobe Watson will retire from AFL at the end of the season, the Essendon champ announced on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old will leave the game as one of its most respected and liked people, but also, in a sense, as one of its more tragic figures -- on account of the Brownlow Medal he won in 2012 which was subsequently stripped because he won it in the year of the Essendon supplements scandal.
The son of club legend Tim Watson, Watson has played 217 game so far for the Bombers, who sit eighth on the ladder with three rounds to play.
He would have played more, but his career was curtailed by a 12-month suspension -- again for the supplements scandal, which was instigated by senior figures at the club and had nothing to do with the wilful taking of illicit substances by Watson or any of the 33 other suspended players.
Watson explained that when he came back after his ban, he never quite regained the passion for footy.
"It's like you're in a relationship," he said at a press conference on Wednesday. "A partner cheats on you, you might get back together, but you don't love them the same way. That's how it feels to me.
"There's probably just hurt associated with it, and when you get inflicted like that, with that sort of pain, then invariably the way you feel about something changes."
Essendon chairman Linday Tanner chose his words well he said Watson would be fondly remembered for "his dignity, courage and forebearance during a crisis entirely not of his making, and for which he paid a very significant price".
Watson will head back to New York soon to return to the coffee house business he set up during his year away from AFL. While circumstances have hastened the next chapter of his career, he admitted that his body wasn't quite keeping up anymore either.
"The speed of the game. It's a great game to watch but it's tough to play. I think I feel relief now. I'm really comfortable that I'm making absolutely the right decision."