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Boyd Cordner has announced his retirement from professional rugby league, effective immediately.
The Sydney Roosters captain called an emotional press conference on Monday morning where he broke down in tears while revealing his struggles with head knocks.
29-year-old Cordner has a lengthy history of concussions, making his last appearance during last year's State of Origin series where he was forced from the field after suffering a nasty head knock.
Since then, the three-time NRL Premiership winner has taken some time away from the game to recover.
And although it was recently announced that he could make a long-awaited return to action, Cordner has now decided that the time was right to hang up the boots.
"As you all know the past six months has been a really challenging time in my life in regards to my head knocks and my health," Cordner said.
"Not at any stage did I think I'd be up here today announcing that this will be it for me. All I ever wanted to do was to get back and play the game I love, and for the club I love.
"I'm at a stage now where I'm doing really well. I'm fine, I've been back at training with the team full time for a while now, I was getting ready and prepared to play in a couple weeks' time.
"I felt really good while I was at training, I was training really hard. Away from footy, when I was at home it was a different story for me. I felt a different way.
"I knew that's a natural feeling to come off what I experienced at the end of last year... it was like my heart was telling me I wanted to play on, and I was doing everything I possibly could, but my mind and my head was telling me otherwise, it was dragging me the other way.
"They didn't align at the end of the day. It would have been me physically prepared but mentally just crossing my fingers, and I don't think that was safe at all.
"For once in my life and my career I had to put my own health and happiness first. It was an extremely tough decision for me to make.
"I spent hours and hours and sleepless nights trying to find a way for me to brush it aside and to play on."
Cordner, who also captained Australia and the New South Wales Blues as well as the Roosters, also took the time to thank his teammates, friends and family for their continued support.
He made special mention of Chooks owner Nick Politis, a man who showed love for Cordner even when he was a teenager coming through the ranks.
"I've probably spent more time in these four walls than I have in my own house," he said.
"I love this place, I love the people in it.
"To Trent (Robinson), apart from my dad he's had the biggest influence on my footy career. I can't thank him enough for what he's done for me as a player, but as a person as well.
"The trust, the care, the love, the loyalty, the confidence, the belief, I've felt all of that, and I want to thank you so much. You're the leader of this club.
"I can't thank you enough for what you've done for my career... (crying)... not as a player now but as a friend, thank you so much.
"To Nick Politis... when you think of the Sydney Roosters you think of Nick Politis. He's an extremely successful businessman but more importantly to me he's an even better person, he's a better human.
"His love, his passion and his loyalty towards this club are unmatched, and I want to thank you for giving that all to me mate.
"As a 16-year-old kid I remember laying up in hospital with a smashed jaw and probably out of it on all the drugs you can imagine, and Nick's standing at the end of my bed just checking in on me to see if I'm OK, to meet my dad and make sure we're all fine.
"I was only 16 years old and he had no right to be there that day, but it goes to show the care he has for this club and his players, and I will never forget that."
Featured Image Credit: Sydney Roosters
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