FORMER Essendon coach James Hird says he feels terrible for Jobe Watson and he is "bewildered" that the star midfielder is no longer a Brownlow medallist.

Watson on Friday relinquished the medal he won in 2012, when he was subject to the Bombers' supplements program and coached by Hird. 

We're sorry Jobe, say Bombers

His former coach said it was wrong that the 31-year-old felt he needed to hand the medal back, despite being found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

"Jobe Watson never cheated, he never took anything illegal and he won the medal fairly," Hird told the Herald Sun.

"He shouldn’t have to give it back.

"(Former Essendon sports scientist) Stephen Dank has never been found guilty of giving the players a performance enhancing drug and it’s wrong Jobe has to hand back the medal. 

"It completely bewilders me. I feel terrible for Jobe." 

Jobe Watson's full statement

Hird was suspended for 12 months by the AFL for his role in the 2012 program and has launched multiple legal cases against the League and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency.  

He departed as Bombers coach late in the 2015 season, saying he wanted to give the players "clear air" to perform without worrying about the focus on his own future.