For weeks, the head said one thing and the heart another.
But in the end, a dodgy knee had the final word on champion Brisbane Lions midfielder Simon Black's AFL career.
An emotional Black, 34, drew the curtain on his incredible 16 season journey on Friday after torturous internal debate.
He even admitted that he had second guessed himself again that morning.
For almost a month he had changed his mind "about 100 times" as he confided in family and friends.
But it was a doctor who finally convinced Black - the last of the Lions' "Fab Four" - to end his 322-game career.
Fighting back tears as he looked over to his wife Catherine and young son Lachlan, Black said scan results that followed off-season knee and groin surgery proved the final straw.
"The (doctor's) feedback was if I continued to play, you run the risk of permanent long-term (knee) damage and that scared me to be honest," he said.
"But I sat out under the stars the other night and thought my body had been so good to me over the years it was about time I did it a favour.
"I sit here now very comfortable with what I have achieved in my career.
"Playing another 15 to 20 games at best wasn't going to achieve a whole lot."
He finished second on the club's all-time list for games played, just 11 shy of Kevin "Bulldog" Murray's (333) record.
Black will fly out to meet family at Perth before deciding his next move but hoped to remain at the Lions as an assistant coach.
Incoming Lions mentor Justin Leppitsch bonded with Black as a triple premiership teammate but never had the privilege to coach the only 300-game player to have won a Brownlow Medal, a Norm Smith Medal and three premierships.
"Over the last couple of weeks my job was to mentor him through this process, there was no arm twisting," said Leppitsch who had just recently taken over the reins from Michael Voss.
"It's always a sad day when a club great leaves but he's also a great mate of mine.
"But I am happy for him. He's got a great family and hopefully a great career still ahead.
"I would say he will win more awards in retirement than when he played which says a lot - he's a Hall of Famer."
Lions co-captain Jonathan Brown placed Black "on the top rung with Michael Voss and Bulldog Murray off all-time Lions players".
"For a guy who wasn't blessed with a lot of athletic talent as far as speed goes, to be able to survive in the game for so long is amazing," he said.
"His composure and vision under pressure is up there with Greg Williams and the other greats who have played the game.
"He's got a young family and Cath is pregnant again so I am hoping they are not real keen to move - I am pretty confident he will stay."
Lions ruckman Matthew Leuenberger tried to put Black's influence in perspective after joining teammates in a post-press conference standing ovation.
"Had his pic on my wall as a kid and he leaves still as one of my biggest idols. Champion player&bloke. Was a lucky ruck man. Cheers Blacky," he tweeted.