RICHMOND was unaware of the depth of former player Chris Yarran's drug-fuelled problems when he joined the Tigers from Carlton at the end of 2015. 

Yarran stunned the football community when he revealed in a candid interview the ice addiction that destroyed his AFL career and almost his life, before religion helped save him.

Richmond knew about his drug issues when it parted ways last year with the West Australian, who failed to play a match for his second club after 119 with the Blues. It is unclear if Yarran started using drugs at Carlton, but he said a family member introduced him to methamphetamines. 

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick, who described Yarran's experience at the club as "harrowing" for everyone involved, was sympathetic to his plight.

Hardwick said then-football boss Dan Richardson and former assistant coach Mark Williams worked closest with Yarran to "try to get the best result for us" but "unfortunately it didn't work out". 

"It became pretty evident from early on there were some issues there, and what comes first – the mental problems or the drug addiction? It's probably chicken and the egg, really," Hardwick said on Saturday morning at Melbourne airport. 

"But we gave him as best support as we could. We don't get confronted with these things on a daily basis, so they're really hard and it's an issue within society and the person themselves that is addicted to the drugs but also the family unit is deeply affected as well.

"It had a profound impact on our footy club." 

Hardwick said it was unlikely Yarran would ever make it back to the AFL, but wished the 26-year-old well and was pleased he was seemingly on the road back to full health. 

"The welfare of the player is always the first and foremost thing in our minds, and for Chris to find God to get his life back on track is certainly exciting for him," he said.

"It was a harrowing experience for Chris and our footy club at the time and we're just glad he's through the worst of it and looking forward and positive with his life, which is great."

Yarran's news this week coincides with another troubled star, Harley Bennell, preparing to play his first game in two years for second club Fremantle against Richmond on Sunday. 

Bennell was linked to drugs in his time at Gold Coast, where a picture of him surfaced with illicit drugs in front of him. Ex-Sun Karmichael Hunt also named him as one of 12 Gold Coast players who used drugs in his time. 

But Bennell, the No.2 pick in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft, has overcome further off-field problems and persistent calf injuries to earn his spot in the Dockers' team. 

"He's an incredible player (and) it's those sorts of guys you come to the footy to watch," Hardwick said of Bennell. 

"We just hope he doesn't put on a show for us this week. But I'm glad Harley's back – he was an incredible player at Gold Coast. We would have loved to have him at Richmond. We courted him there for a while, but he chose Fremantle over us. 

"He's a good player and he'll be a good player for them for a long period of time."