IN the end Josh Drummond's battered body could take no more.
Or, perhaps more accurately, the Brisbane Lions could no longer justify having the often shambling veteran on its books after 94 senior games over nine injury-plagued years.
It was revealed yesterday that the Maroochydore product, 29, drafted by the Lions in 2003 as a mature-age rookie, had retired from AFL football.
The skilful defender cited a long-term hip injury - which had plagued him since the 2009 pre-season - as the catalyst for the decision.
However, he purportedly attempted to prolong his career with the triple premier.
In a press release issued yesterday, the club said Drummond had informed it on Tuesday night that he would retire.
He said: "It's a tough decision because I love footy so much and I love being a part of the Brisbane Lions, but I had to accept that I just can't do it anymore.
"I didn't want to be a burden on the club and I had to start thinking about life after football.
"I would have loved to play on because I sense the club is on the verge of some really exciting times, but I would have been asking too much of my body to try to go through it all again."
Lions coach Michael Voss praised Drummond (main photo) for his impact at the club.
"Drummo showed total commitment to this club during his entire career, and his value on the park was unquestionable," the coach said. "He possessed one of the best kicks I've ever seen."
"HIS progression from the rookie list to the senior list, then to be a part of our leadership group - it's a great success story for football in Queensland and something a lot of young players in this state should take inspiration from," Voss said.
"He completely invested in the regeneration of the culture of this football club and he will be sorely missed. Our players are going to need to pick up where he left off."
Although drafted in 2003, Drummond did not make his AFL debut until round eight in 2005 at age 22.
Voss said Drummond's "footy brain" made him a likely candidate to become a coach.
The club said Drummond had indicated he would like to remain in football and would complete his post-graduate studies in sports science and coaching.
Voss said: "He's got a footy brain. His ability to interpret and analyse a situation is excellent.
"I would have thought that if he's got aspirations to coach or be involved somehow, he's certainly got the nous to do so.
"It's unfortunate that injuries have got the better of him, but now he'll move on to the next phase of his career and we wish him nothing but the best.
"He's been an outstanding servant of this footy club."
The Brisbane Lions will honour Drummond with a lap of honour prior to their first home game of the 2013 season.
Drummond, who had a knee reconstruction in 2010, made a late start to 2012 due to his hip injury and ended up playing 15 games for the season.
That was eight more than what he played in both 2011 and 2010.
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