JOBE Watson's decision to hand back the Brownlow Medal has made him question his passion for the game, coach John Worsfold says.
Although the 31-year-old seemed enthusiastic about the prospect of playing again when he signalled his intention to return to Essendon during Grand Final week, he struggled in his first week training.
Worsfold said the timing of the decision was unfortunate as it coincided with Watson's pre-season return.
"No doubt it's again got Jobe to that point where he says, 'Do I really have the passion for the game and playing the game?'" Worsfold said.
The Bombers coach said he was not surprised Watson had hit a hurdle given the renewed focus on him and he was confident he would rediscover that love in time.
Worsfold suggested Watson will face ups and downs during this time before Christmas and that this would be the hardest period of his comeback.
"We're saying to Jobe, 'Don't just think a light is going to switch on overnight. Take your time. Come and get involved in training, let it just evolve,'" Worsfold said.
The coach's honest appraisal reflected the impact of the supplements saga on Watson, who has been the public face of the club for most of the period.
Worsfold said the club would assist Watson to map out his own method for rediscovering that passion if help was needed.
"We will support him taking his time with that decision if and when that passion comes back," Worsfold said.
"I am confident it will and I have told Jobe I will assist him and hopefully he can find that."
On the positive side, Worsfold said Watson is super fit and would return to being a very good player quickly once he settled into the routine.
"One of my key focuses is to assist him find that passion," Worsfold said.
The coach said he was enjoying having Watson at the club and once the veteran was on the track he looked at home.
"He looks like a footballer out there," Worsfold said.