James Hird was asked to consider standing down from coaching before Essendon's round-three game in Perth, but it was a communications strategist hired to help the Bombers through their crisis - not the club chairman or lawyers - who personally put the proposition to him.
After months of speculation, Steven Amendola, one of Hird's key legal advisers through the season-long affair, has flatly denied that Hird ever offered to stand aside mid-season.
''I can confirm that my client never offered to stand down before the Fremantle game, but I can confirm that he was approached by Liz Lukin on either the Wednesday or Thursday night before the Fremantle game where she suggested that perhaps he ought to stand down,'' the Ashurst lawyer told Fairfax Media on Thursday.
''She pulled him aside and suggested he might want to stand down.
''He did not take up that suggestion. He instructs me that he said to her: 'I am not standing down'.''
According to Hird, Elizabeth Lukin - a consultant employed at the instigation of ex-Essendon CEO Ian Robson - spoke to the coach before the April 12 game in which a besieged Essendon notched a stirring victory.
The match at Patersons Stadium ended with an emotional Hird linking arms with his players and singing the club song in the dressing rooms. Earlier on the same day, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou made a now infamous comment on Melbourne radio that standing down was ''an option he [Hird] has to consider''.
Amendola said that both he and Hird thought it ''odd'' that a communications expert would ask the coach to stand aside.
''He told me after the fact, but he didn't seek my advice,'' Amendola said. ''I must admit I told him, 'I wouldn't stand down if I were you', but it's not like he was seeking my advice about it.''
According to Hird, no one else asked him to stand aside from coaching before he ultimately accepted the AFL Commission's decision to impose a 12-month ban a fortnight ago.