Some said it was impossible. The mere mention of Todd Carney's name still sends some Canberra Raiders fans into a meltdown.
But after all the pain, controversies and "what ifs", could the prodigal son be coming home? Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker is on board.
A group of Raiders fans have launched a petition to bring Carney out of retirement for the NRL Nines, which will be played in Perth on February 14.
More than 250 people have already pledged their support, but whether it gathers enough momentum to become a genuine option remains to be seen.
The Raiders are investigating options for their "marquee" nines player. Clubs recruit retired stars or cross-code athletes to play at the pre-season event.
The Raiders have lured Ken Nagas and Jason Croker back on to the field in previous years. Could Carney be next?
When asked by fans on Tuesday about the prospect, Croker replied: "I agree give the man a run."
Carney had a chequered career in Canberra. He made his NRL debut as a teenager and was viewed as the man to lead the Green Machine into another golden era.
But he was troubled off the field and a series of incidents led to him being sacked in 2008.
Carney revived his career at the Roosters, where he won the Dally M Medal, and the Sharks before he was sacked again in 2014.
Some have forgiven and forgotten the headaches Carney gave Raiders officials, teammates and fans.
Others still hold a grudge. Petition initiator Jack Blyth said: "After a tumultuous career, Todd Carney's NRL career was ended in 2014 after an act that, while crude, affected no other individual except for himself.
"Let's give Todd Carney his very own swan song, and have him end his career where it started, with the Canberra Raiders.
"He deserves it as much as anyone, so let's give him a send off and watch him create magic on the rugby league field one last time."
Carney returned to the Raiders' inner sanctum last year, invited to the club's "Forever Green" round. It was the first time in 10 years he'd been back inside the Raiders sheds.
Surrounding by old teammates and green jerseys, Carney told The Canberra Times his only regret was leaving a club he wanted to play at for his entire career.
"What I've done for this club and what the club's done for me has made me what I am today and I'll always owe them that and what I've done for this club they owe me," Carney said.
"I was a kid from Goulburn who wanted to be a Canberra Raiders junior, a Canberra Raiders legend.
"I was fortunate enough to play for the club. I owe everything to the game of rugby league and this is the first club I stepped foot in.
"Being here today is a step in the right direction to move on from what went on.
"I look back now and think I'm glad I've done it."
The Raiders baulked at the prospect of Carney's Canberra return for 2018 when the board declined an opportunity to have him back, but a guest appearance could be the avenue for the most unlikeliest of comebacks.
Former Sydney Swans star Nick Davis will make a cross-code switch with the Roosters, Corey Parker will come out of retirement for the Brisbane Broncos, and Michael Gordon will return for the Titans.
The Raiders have drawn the West Tigers, Titans and Rabbitohs in their pool, with the top two teams advancing to the quarter finals.
NRL Nines: February 14-15 at Perth Oval.