Jamal Idris’ manager insists the enigmatic centre has not retired from the NRL despite being released by Penrith to deal with a host of personal problems.
For the second time in as many years Idris has stepped away from the game, after being granted a release from the final season on his Panthers deal.
The 25-year-old said he still loved rugby league but needed time away to contemplate his future.
Idris’s manager Sam Ayoub said the former NSW and Test representative had not hung up his boots, at least not yet, and was in no rush to sort out his future.
“He had a major injury this year which played on his mind, he lost his grandfather, he lost his grandmother not long ago, he had a personal relationship break up,” Ayoub said.
“He had a few issues and he’s just human like the rest of us.”
Idris burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old with Canterbury in 2008, winning the Dally M rookie of the year award the following season and was at one stage considered by some as a better prospect than dual international Israel Folau.
He represented NSW in 2010 and Australia in 2011 but has been dogged by personal problems throughout his career.
After making an ill-fated move to the Gold Coast in 2012-13, he requested a release to Penrith in a bid to move back to Sydney to be closer to family.
In May last year, Idris was stood down for personal reasons including alcohol and depression after he failed to report back to training following a four-day road trip.
In a statement on Monday, Idris said he needed to step away to weigh up his options after he could not guarantee the Panthers’ his full commitment next season.
“I love the game of rugby league but just at the moment I need to take some time away,” Idris said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Panthers but I did not want to continue playing if I couldn’t guarantee giving them 100 per cent.”
Idris sat on the sidelines for most of this year after rupturing his ACL ligament in round six.
He was already in a battle to maintain his spot in the side following the emergence of young guns Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, George and Robert Jennings and Waqa Blake over the last few years.
“Injury and personal issues restricted his playing time last season and I totally understand the reasons behind his request for this release,” Penrith executive general manager Phil Gould said.
“In top form, Jamal is a State of Origin-quality player. I hope that he can find a way to rekindle his motivation for the game and return at some stage in the future.”