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Banned Don Pears retires to join fire brigade

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ESSENDON defender Tayte Pears, one of the 12 Bombers banned for his part in the club's 2012 supplements program, has retired from AFL football.

Pears, 26, intends to become a firefighter.

He played 70 matches for the Dons in a career blighted by injury after being take with pick No.23 in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft.

He told the club website, "The challenges of the last few years have inhibited my ability to undertake the demands of AFL football and I feel it is the right time for me to move on with the next stage of life in the best interests of my future. 

"I really appreciate all the support I have received from my teammates, the members and supporters and wish everyone at Essendon all the best for the future."

Bombers CEO Xavier Campbell paid tribute to Pears' career with the Bombers.

"We respect Tayte’s decision to call an end to his AFL career. We are incredibly thankful for his contribution both on- and off-field at Essendon and wish him all the best for the next chapter of his career," Campbell said. 

"I’d like to thank Tayte for his professionalism and contribution."

Port Adelaide midfielder Kane Cornes retired after playing his 300th match in round eight last year to join the fire brigade, but has since quit to pursue a media career.

Most of the 12 banned Bombers still on the club's list will play at Essendon next year, with only Jobe Watson yet to make a decision.

Michael Hibberd has requested a trade and Melbourne appears the most likely destination for the backman.