GEELONG great Steve Johnson will play his last game for the Cats against Adelaide on Saturday but is yet to call time on his glittering AFL career.
The 32-year-old, who has played 252 games and kicked 450 goals, said he understood the club's direction and would weigh up his options beyond this year.
Cats coach Chris Scott would not elaborate on the exact reasons as to why the club had made the decision to part ways with Johnson and fellow veterans James Kelly and Mathew Stokes.
But Scott did say those decisions were made with the best interests of the football club in mind.
"There are a lot of really good people at this footy club who have invested thousands of hours into the decision-making," Scott said on Friday.
"The important thing for our supporters is to understand a hell of a lot of work's gone into this. No one cares about these players more than we do, even though some people would find that hard to believe.
"On balance we feel the good of the football club is the most important thing."
The three-time premiership star refused to call quits on his career, with the possibility he will find a new football home in 2016.
"Many people will be asking what I'm doing next year," Johnson said on the club's website.
"Once I've finished this weekend, I'll be looking at the options available to me within the AFL industry."
Johnson finishes his career at Geelong with three premiership medallions (2007, 2009, 2011), the 2007 Norm Smith medal, and three All Australian selections (2007, 2008, 2010).
He earned the reputation of being able to do mercurial things out on the field, although Scott said Johnson's flashy tendencies made it easy to overlook how good a competitor he was.
"His ability to delight and frustrate in the same piece of play is without peer," Scott said with a smirk.
"One of the reasons why I think he'll be an exceptional coach is that he has a view of the game that's different to most others. That lateral thought has been a huge asset to us.
"He's underrated for his flexibility and some of the mercurial stuff that he did might have taken the gloss away from just how good a player he was in the contest at his best."
Johnson's ability to perform on the big stage – evidenced by his 2007 Norm Smith medal – and the way in which he was able to play through pain, which he did in the 2011 Grand Final when he kicked four goals despite battling a knee injury, only added to his heroics.
Scott summed Johnson's career up in the perfect manner.
"He's truly unique in the literal sense of the word. Is there anyone that comes close, I can't think of any comparisons. That's probably a good thing because he deserves to stand by himself," Scott said.
"He's testing but the greats always do. And that's why they're so valuable. They force you to think a bit differently. At times they frustrate, but I would contend that the opposition coach's box would have had more issues with Steve than we did."
STEVE JOHNSON'S GEELONG CAREER
Born: July 4, 1983
Recruited from: Murray Bushrangers/Wangaratta
Brownlow votes: 106
Premierships: 2007, 2009, 2011
All Australian: 2007, 2008, 2010
Norm Smith Medal: 2007
Geelong leading goalkicker: 2008, 2010