COLLINGWOOD has told Sam Murray he won't be offered a contract for next year despite him being eligible to play again in mid-February. 

Murray has sat out of AFL football since August 17 last season after traces of cocaine were detected in his system in a game-day test only weeks earlier.

The 22-year-old was facing a maximum four-year ban, but his legal team was able to reduce that to 18 months.

Murray looked to be an astute pick up for the Pies early in his Collingwood career. Picture: AFL Photos

Murray can resume training with an AFL club on December 17 and can play from February 17, meaning he would effectively be able to complete almost a full pre-season.

However, he will need to find a third team to keep his career alive, after spending two seasons at Sydney then playing 13 games for the Magpies last year before his provisional ban began.

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Collingwood delisted Murray at the end of last season, with a commitment to select him in the rookie draft.

There is no such promise this time around, and it is unclear whether another club will offer him a lifeline.

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Murray, who received a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination last year, has trained on his own in Melbourne and with Ovens and Murray league club Wangaratta Rovers during his ban.

His 18-year-old brother, Nick, a 193cm key backman, is garnering some AFL interest after splitting his time between the Rovers and GWS Giants this season.

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