The lucky ones get to retire of their own volition.
Some are forced out the door, no longer in a club's plans. Then there's those whose body fails them, injury ultimately having the final say.
Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer falls into that last category.
The injury curse restricted the former No.1 draft pick, now 31 and in his 13th season, to 189 AFL games.
He played in round one and was in strong form before his latest injury - a broken foot - forced him to the sidelines again.
Carlton had hoped the influential ruckman would return given the AFL waded through a three-month coronavirus suspension. But the latest setback proved one hurdle too many.
Kreuzer called time on his career on Thursday; his injury list featuring ACL, foot, ankle, concussion and heart problems.
There is no doubt Carlton was better when Kreuzer was on the field.
Unassuming off it, the man affectionately known as 'Humphrey' made his teammates stand taller on it.
Sadly for Blues fans those efforts were punctuated by regular stints on the sidelines. Now Kreuzer has decided to remain a spectator.
He'll be content knowing his ruck replacements - Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning - look capable of picking up where he left off.
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