Jared Rivers fought his knees and, as always, the knees won.
The Geelong defender has ended his AFL career on 194 games because he will need surgery on a torn meniscus.
Rivers played 12 games this season, most recently in the round-20 loss to Hawthorn.
“In the end it was a bit of an easy decision, knowing that I physically can’t go on anymore.
“The knees have finally won and I’ve had to pull up stumps a bit earlier than what I would’ve liked.
“But that’s just what happens sometimes in footy, unfortunately, so I’m a bit sad about not being able to run out on the ‘G again.”
Rivers joined Melbourne in the 2002 draft and he quickly made an impact, winning the 2004 Rising Star award.
He played 150 games for the Demons between 2003-12 and then joined the Cats as an unrestricted free agent.
A knee injury kept him to only 10 games with the Cats in 2013, although he was a key player in the 2013 finals.
Rivers played 22 games last season and finished sixth in the Cats’ best and fairest voting.
“I went there (Cats) to win a premiership and I got close but didn’t quite get there,” Rivers said.
“But to have the opportunity to play in a few finals and play alongside some great players at the Cats, I couldn’t be happier.
“I feel lucky to have played for the two oldest clubs in the competition.
“I couldn’t have picked two better clubs to play footy for.”
Cats coach Chris Scott praised Rivers’ impact since moving to Geelong.
“Jared was hampered by injury in his time, but he pushed through that to help us win a lot of games.
“He was very strong in one-on-one contests and was very reliable for us.
“Jared is very popular with his teammates and the coaches and staff and we wish him well post-footy.”
Rivers will keep working with the Cats’ coaching staff for the rest of the season.