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Neil Craig calls time on his career in football

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Neil Craig

CARLTON director of coaching and former Adelaide coach Neil Craig has called time on his career in the football industry after more than four decades.

The 61-year-old, who joined Carlton at the end of 2015 to oversee its new coaching personnel headed by Brendon Bolton, will step away at the end of the season.

Craig said he was satisfied with what he had achieved in the game.

"While it has been an incredible journey across nearly 20 years in the industry, I am at the stage of life where the timing feels right to step back from full-time professional sport," Craig said in a statement on Monday night.

"The decision hasn't been made lightly, but this is primarily a lifestyle decision for both my family and me.

"From a career perspective, coming to Carlton and having the opportunity to work with Brendon was most rewarding and wonderfully refreshing. I am grateful to both Carlton and Brendon for giving me that opportunity to work closely with their fantastic team of coaches, players and staff.

"This game has given me so much, and I reflect on my career with much fondness and appreciation. After nearly two wonderful decades in the industry, I now look forward to the next phase of life with my family."

Craig began his career in the SANFL, playing a total of 319 games for Norwood, Sturt and North Adelaide, before coaching Norwood. 

He took up the role of Adelaide's fitness adviser during its back-to-back premierships in 1997-98 and served as the Crows' senior coach from 2004, initially as caretaker.

Craig remained at the Crows until 2011, leading the club to five finals campaigns, including back-to-back preliminary finals in his first two seasons. 

After his resignation, he joined Melbourne as director of sports performance ahead of the 2012 season and was appointed Essendon's general manager of performance at the end of 2013.

Blues head of football Andrew McKay described Craig as a "terrific football person".

Bolton also paid tribute to Craig and thanked him for his unwavering support. 

"We owe a great deal of gratitude to Neil for his dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm to our program," Bolton said. 

"His many and varied experiences in the industry greatly provided a great sounding board for our coaching panel. 

"On a personal note, I have developed a strong relationship with Neil over the past two years. I am incredibly appreciative of the investment he has made and the program we have built in that period."