BRENDON Goddard was 'jolted' by the news he would not be offered a new contract by Essendon, Bombers coach John Worsfold admitted.
The 33-year-old has played every game this season and averaged 22 disposals, but was told on Monday he would not be kept on by the Bombers for 2019.
The former Saint, who emotionally addressed his teammates on Tuesday morning, will consider playing on at a third club next year after disagreeing with the Bombers' call.
"A lot of people probably thought I would be angry and bitter ... but in all honesty I'm not - I'm sad and disappointed because I love the game and I love being here," Goddard said in a video posted on essendonfc.com.au.
"I know the brutality of football and the reality of it.
"I respect the decision although I don't agree with it.
"Great organisations and footy clubs are built of making tough decisions and that's why I'm not bitter and angry as much as people think I might be.
"I walk away on Saturday a better person and that's the most important thing."
Since joining the Bombers at the end of 2012 from St Kilda as a restricted free agent, Goddard has played 128 games.
He has finished in the top five of the club's best and fairest every year so far in his time in the red and black, including winning the Crichton Medal in 2013, and is also likely to feature again in the top 10 of this year's count.
Goddard's final game for the Bombers will come on Friday night against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, but Worsfold said the veteran defender hadn't requested he be told before the end of the season.
Worsfold said Goddard didn't agree with the Bombers' decision.
"That would be fair to say, yes. He feels he can still contribute on the field at a really good level and that's the hard part because he still has done that this year," Worsfold said.
"It's an unknown how well he would contribute next year, but as I talked about we've got so many other factors we've had to throw into the pot to weigh up."
The Bombers' group of young half-backs – including NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Aaron Francis, Jordan Ridley, Mason Redman and Martin Gleeson – was one factor when they made up their minds on whether to give Goddard one more season.
He said the news had been difficult for Goddard to take in.
"Yesterday it was a jolt for him. Basically had to deliver the message and then let him have his space to digest it. I was comfortable with that and then had a couple of text messages with him later in the day and followed up with him this morning," he said.
"Overall he's a realist, he understands the industry and understands there's constant decisions being made about lists, selection week to week, and he understands what the club's had to do."
Worsfold was unsure if Goddard would play on elsewhere next year, but added the sharp-kicking half-back/midfielder, who was one of the best players in the competition during his time at the Saints, could still play at a high level.
"He potentially would be able to contribute elsewhere at the level depending on what any other club required and what role they wanted him to play and what they expected from his output. That's up for everyone else to measure now," he said.
Essendon still has a number of players out of contract as it heads into the off-season, including Mitch Brown, Jayden Laverde, Michael Hartley, Josh Green, Mark Baguley, James Stewart, Matthew Leuenberger and Shaun McKernan.
Worsfold is not expecting a "big" list turnover, and said the club is in negotiations with Laverde's management for a new deal.
Brendon Goddard at Essendon
- Played 128 of a possible 133 games.
- 56 wins, 71 losses, 1 draw, 56 goals, 42 behinds.
- 20 Brownlow votes.
- 2 finals, 2 losses.
- Three times in the top three of the B&F.
- Captain in 27 games.
- Played under five different senior coaches – James Hird, Simon Goodwin, Mark Thompson, Matthew Egan and John Worsfold.
At St Kilda
- Played 205 of a possible 237 games between 2003-2012.
- 126 wins, 76 losses, 3 draws, 104 goals, 71 behinds.
- 56 Brownlow votes.
- 16 finals, three Grand Finals.
- Twice in the top three of the B&F.
- Twice All Australian.