Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch doesn’t want AFL star Jonathan Brown to risk his future health by playing on for the Lions unnecessarily.
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch fears for Jonathan Brown’s long-term health and has told the club great he owes them nothing.
Brown is currently weighing up his future in the AFL after suffering the latest in a long line of concussions in his courageous 256-game career.
Leppitsch on Thursday revealed he’d stressed to the veteran power forward he’d be letting no one at the Lions down by retiring immediately.
“The biggest thing I said to Browny is ‘you don’t owe this footy club anything’,” he said.
“He’s a very loyal man who doesn’t want to do the wrong thing by people, so I was basically taking that pressure away from him so he can make the decision which is right for him.
“I retired mid-year, (West Coast’s) Darren Glass retired a week ago; the point being that you don’t have feel like you have to stick around just because you owe us something.
“If the time’s now, the time’s now.”
Leppitsch confirmed concussion tests had ruled Brown out of Brisbane’s away trip to play Fremantle on Saturday.
The 31-year-old has been renowned for his bravery throughout his career but it has come a cost, with three separate collisions within 12 months in 2011-12 that caused facial fractures.
Leppitsch admitted he felt terribly concerned for his former triple-premiership teammate when he bounced off Giants defender Tomas Bugg’s hip at the Gabba on Saturday night.
“As a friend it does,” he said. “Of course it worries you.
“Browny has had a lot of concussions and anyone that cares about Jonathan Brown would be concerned about that.”
Brown, whose wife is expecting their third child, is currently seeking advice from his family, friends and experts about his future.
Leppitsch expected both Brown, who has 21 goals in 11 matches this season, and the club would probably like to see him turn out for a farewell game.
But the coach didn’t think that should drive the former Lions captain.
“Everyone thinks they’re bulletproof in this game, that’s the problem,” Leppitsch said.
“There’s a certain point, and I’ve been through it to, where you have to say ‘look I think enough’s enough’.
“He’s dealing with those things. Whether he does it now or wait until the end of the year, he’ll weigh it up.
“And he’s speaking to the most important people now.”