Brisbane Lions stalwart Jonathan Brown has announced his immediate retirement from the AFL, citing health reasons for ending an accolade-filled 14-year career.
Brown made the announcement at a press conference at the Gabba, flanked by coach Justin Leppitsch and football director Leigh Matthews, who also coached the AFL club from 1999 to 2008.
The 256-game veteran, Brown, played in four consecutive grand finals including the premiership-winning teams of 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Jonathan Brown of the Lions looks on from the bench during the round 13 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Greater Western Giants. Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images
However the 32-year-old has suffered multiple head injuries during his career, with the latest occurring against the GWS Giants on June 14.
Brown said he made the decision to quit the game over the weekend.
After spending time with his children, he contemplated the decision further and knew his health was "not worth risking".
Jonathan Brown retires
Jonathan Brown is helped from the field in what turned out to be his last game - the round 13 loss against GWS. Photo: Getty Images
“I’ve had to finish up early from a playing point of view, I’ll still be involved with the club helping out the guys throughout the year ... unfortunately [I] can’t do it out on the field,” he said.
"Not to dramatise it. I’m ok, I’m going to recover ... I’m sure [my] symptoms will clear up pretty soon."
The powerful centre half-forward made his debut for the Lions during the 2000 season after he was drafted from TAC Cup side Geelong Falcons.
Jonathan Brown of the Lions is assisted from the field in Round 13. Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images
Hailing from the Victorian country town of Warrnambool, Brown said he idolised the Lions as a youngster because his father Brian played for the club when it was formerly known as Fitzroy.
He said his "heart bled for the Lions from the very start and all the way through".
Brown said he was content with his decision to give the game away and that Leppitsch had not put him under any pressure to continue playing.
Brown captained the side from 2007 to 2013, booting 594 goals in his 14-year career.
"I’m looking forward to the future, whatever that may be," Brown said.
"[My] time at the footy club’s just been fantastic. The memories is what’s really the overwhelming thing. All the happiness, the great times.
"I’ve been fortunate enough to play in premierships and play with a lot of great players, build some great relationships, [I've] been coached by great men. So it’s just been a wonderful ride."