Todd Carney's voice is that of a man ready to own his mistakes.
He laughs as he takes a short break from "living the Byron life" to recount the tale that led him there. It is one filled with breathtaking highs and devastating lows.
The title of his autobiography Hard Truth could not be more fitting, as is the tone in which he speaks. But one needn't go too far to find perhaps the hardest truth to come to terms with.
The biggest regret of Carney's ill-fated time in Canberra is the moment he left his teammate behind.
The Raiders sacked Steve Irwin after Carney had led police on a car chase through suburban streets in the injured Irwin's car in 2007. Irwin would retire a year later having controversially claimed the club forced him to lie in a bid to salvage Carney's career.
"There was no way he should have been sent packing for something that was my fault," Carney said.
"I never got the chance to say sorry to him which I have always regretted. His career in the NRL was over and it was my fault."
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It was but one indiscretion that would ultimately lead to Carney's downfall in Canberra - the club he still loves.
"If you put me in a perfect world today, then I probably would have played over 300 games at the Raiders," Carney said.
"I wouldn't say I'm the captain of the Raiders, because obviously Jarrod [Croker] is the captain there now and he is a close mate of mine.
"But I probably would have played over 300 games at the Raiders now if I'd done everything possible and my body allowed me."
Carney's older sisters Krysten and Melinda watched their brother spiral out of control. In their eyes the blame rests in Canberra.
"He hated it, but the Raiders didn't care," Melinda says of Carney's move from home to the AIS.
Then there was the persistent glare of the media, who built up the emerging playmaker "like a god" when the Raiders were winning and hounded him when he played up.
But when Carney takes a moment to ponder what might have been, he still wishes he was wearing lime green.
"I love the Raiders still, I've got no hard feelings against the Raiders," Carney said.
"It's a business and they had a job to do. I'm thankful for what the club did for me in my junior days, and they obviously set me up for the career I had."
It was a career that so nearly led him to the clutches of the man plotting Canberra's downfall this week in Manly Warringah Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler.
Carney had contemplated life as a Penrith Panther but didn't quite fancy the prospect of heading to Sydney's west.
But a day at Narrabeen convinced him there was a locker with his name on it at the Sea Eagles.
"That was the first time I put the feelers out and had a chat to a few clubs. I went down to Manly and spent a whole day with Des, and I went down to the ground," Carney said.
"I pretty much agreed to it and obviously the Raiders didn't like it. They brought Mal in and I had a coffee with Mal Meninga at the ground. He said 'what legacy do you want to leave?'
If you put me in a perfect world today, then I probably would have played over 300 games at the Raiders.Todd Carney
"I backflipped, I had to ring Des and said 'mate, I'm not coming anymore'. To his credit he was quite understanding about it. He said 'when you're off contract, I'll try to sign you'.
"He was true to it, he tried to sign me a few years after. They're things you look back on, and if you did it you go down a different path.
"But I wouldn't change it."
Carney opted to stay in Canberra under the tutelage of Neil Henry, who had assured the Goulburn product he was a part of his long-term plans.
A week later Henry called Carney into his office to tell him he was on the way to North Queensland. He felt used.
Then Carney's world began to crumble. His father died aged 57, and the Raiders star began wandering aimlessly through life and finding trouble at every turn.
An altercation at a night club threatened to push him over the edge - but instead the Raiders board met and devised a six-point plan for Carney to abide by.
He was to be stood down, removed from the leadership group, enrolled in counselling for alcohol-related behaviour, refrain from drinking until the end of his contract in 2012, volunteer work and a $20,000 fine.
Carney was prepared to accept the terms - but the day he walked into the boardroom there was just one man waiting to tell him his time was up.
Regret? Hardly. Carney went on to win a Dally M, play a grand final and play State of Origin during his time at the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks.
But Canberra would always be home, which is why he left Ricky Stuart with a simple message in 2017 after they crossed paths at Jarrod Croker's wedding
"Give me an opportunity".
They left it at that before Carney's phone lit up. It was Raiders football manager John Bonasera.
"I understand you're fair dinkum and I want to help you," Bonasera said.
Stuart backed him in, Croker put a submission to the board. The answer was one Carney had been dreading.
"I left on ugly grounds in Canberra and the board didn't want to put their reputations on the line again and denied it," Carney said.
"It would have been all dreams come true again, it would have been nice to finish there but it is what it is.
"I always say to Jarrod, I'll try hit Sticky up for a coaching job one time when I've got my understanding of coaching and I'm comfortable with myself.
"I'll hit Sticky up one day to run the water for them."