JORDAN Russell hopes to get a third chance at AFL football after a poorly timed fracture in his foot derailed his one season at Collingwood.
There was disappointment but no hard feelings when he was given the news for a second time in two years he was no longer required.  
At that post-season meeting with the Magpies, he was told things just didn't work out.
It was an assessment that rang true.
The fractured foot Russell suffered in round nine against the Sydney Swans is one of those untold stories that get an airing only when the season is over.
At the time it happened he was in the middle of a solid performance for the Magpies.
He had played seven of the first nine games after a strong pre-season and good NAB Cup form.
Then he experienced the sort of break he didn't want to come his way.
Hobbling through the last quarter that night against the Swans Russell looked slow. It's not hard now to see why.
In hindsight, he should have missed four games due to the injury but he returned after just two weeks off.
With a one-year contract at Collingwood and the feeling his career was on the line he rushed back.
Only a few weeks later he broke his toe and the uninterrupted start to the season he had enjoyed up until round nine suddenly became rocky.
He played against Port Adelaide in the week after the bye then in the final round against North Melbourne. He did not perform as he hoped in the last round shoot-out that became a strange game.
When Collingwood dropped out of the finals the next week, he was packing his bags again.
He had played nine games in 2013. Six of the games were against final eight teams, one was against Essendon and two were against North Melbourne. He had no easy hits.
However he understood the decision and knew he had put everything he could into the time he had at Collingwood.
"They said you did everything you could do and it just did not work out. I guess that is how I felt. I tried and busted my arse for 10 or 11 months and just kept getting little niggly injuries that just cost me at bad times," Russell told
Marley Williams and Ben Sinclair established themselves as running defenders and Brent Macaffer became the run with player.
Nick Maxwell, Harry O'Brien, Alan Toovey and potentially Heath Shaw (if he stays) could fill the lock down defensive role.
So for the second spring in succession, Russell faces an uncertain future.
He turns 27 in November and has now played 125 games with two clubs. Twice he finished in the top six in Carlton's best and fairest and spent a couple of years in its leadership group.
Well regarded for his professional attitude and his willingness to help out young players he seems to offer plenty for a club willing to back him in.
During 2013 he kicked at 83.8 per cent efficiency and took the kick-in after a behind 46 times. That is a job that only goes to players the coach trusts.
He impressed with his work ethic and approach to mentoring young rookies such as Peter Yagmoor and Adam Oxley.
A bad patch against Essendon on Anzac Day when caught out of position a couple of times was costly but apart from that he did little wrong.
"There is no point in sitting down and putting my head between my hands and worrying about that. I have just got to get back on the horse and get back into it," Russell said.
Despite the setbacks, his keenness to play and contribute remains undiminished.
Having grown up in South Australia he moved to Victoria just after turning 18 when the Blues picked him at nine in the 2004 AFL Draft.
Moving holds no fears.
Nor does changing position.
Although he made his name playing across half-back he floated with the Magpies the idea of playing in a run-with role before Macaffer took that baton.
He has also played as a lead-up forward but with his big body and powers of concentration, tagging would suit. It is an option he would be keen to pursue.
Now Russell has to wait, stay in shape and keep making every post a winner.
His resilience is admirable and his positive attitude to the game part of his make-up. He offers more than just a strong body, a reliable kick and a mature mind.
"[In the] last three years when I have been struggling I've been trying to get around the younger players on the list and try to develop them. If the footy stuff does not work out I reckon I will try to get into the path of development coaching and playing," Russell said.