Melbourne small forward Aaron Davey says his career with the Demons will end after the 2013 season, but the 30-year-old is undecided on his playing future.
The 2009 club champion broke down in tears on Tuesday in front of the entire playing group at a media conference as he announced this would be his last season with the Demons.
The midfielder/small forward has played 18 games in 2013 in a season in which the struggling Demons have won only two games, with two matches remaining against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium and Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Davey says he has had open and honest discussions with the Demons in the last 10 weeks regarding his future at the club.
“They’ve respected me in everything they’ve done. We had a chat yesterday and decided that I was going to retire from the Melbourne Football Club as of this year,” an emotional Davey said.
“I’m not closing off all avenues. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
“I can’t commit to anything just yet.”
The Demons have discussed a possible off-field role with Davey in 2014, but Davey says a playing stint back in the Northern Territory is a possibility.
“He will be a special part of the history of Melbourne Football Club and he’s been a great role model for the indigenous community,” Melbourne’s interim coach and former Adelaide mentor Neil Craig said.
“(Adelaide midfield great) Andrew McLeod used to always stand Aaron and I used to enjoy those two going head-to-head.”
Darwin product Davey thanked his siblings, his wife Anna and five children for their support as he struggled to get the words out.
“I’ve enjoyed very minute of it,” Davey said, adding he loved his teammates and was keen to play two more games alongside them.
“I spoke about (former Melbourne coach) Neale Daniher and the opportunities he’d given me. He made me believe (I could be) the person I am today.
“I walk away after 10 years of service at this great club and a place that helped shape me to be the person I am and made me believe that I could become the role model and the leader that I see myself I am today, not only for the indigenous people but also non-indigenous people.”
Davey said the Demons couldn’t get any lower as a club but success would not be far away.
He said teenagers Jesse Hogan and Jack Viney would be the future of the club.