Eddie Betts is now highly likely to embark on an 18th AFL season with Carlton.
In a dramatic turnaround, Betts has gone from retirement and preparing for life after football, to a resolute desire to keep playing.
And as things stand, the Blues are set to offer him another one-year deal.
Carlton’s widespread state of uncertainty, brought on by a disappointing season and external football department review, means another Betts deal isn’t yet set in stone.
But all parties are currently in agreement over the mercurial goal-sneak playing on at Ikon Park.
Betts turns 35 in November, but has enjoyed a fruitful campaign in his second season back at the Blues, kicking 24.16 from 16 appearances, including a bag of five against the Western Bulldogs in Round 8.
He will play his 350th game in Round 23, provided he can overcome an ankle injury that sidelined him over the weekend.
Betts signed a one-year contract extension at Carlton last November before agreeing to be put on the club’s rookie list to free up salary cap space.
He told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 earlier this month that he was enjoying his football more in 2021.
“I put it down to just going out and having fun,” he said.
“Last year was pretty tough, being in a hub and being away from family.
“And to be honest last year I was kind of out of my head because I wanted to play for another contract.
“I let it get to my head and there was a lot of media scrutiny out there. You just overthink stuff and especially in games.
“This year I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I don’t need to prove a point to anyone else and last year I wanted to prove a point to myself that I could still play.
“This year I don’t need to.”
A three-time All-Australian and six-time leading goalkicker, Betts is one of the greatest small forwards the game has seen.
A pre-season draft pick at Carlton in 2004, Betts was traded to Adelaide after the 2013 season before returning to the Blues in late 2019.
His 347 games have netted 637 goals – four of them Goal of the Year winners.