Martin Gleeson was delisted by Essendon last week after playing 97 games for the club.
The 27-year-old defender played six games in 2021, including the Bombers’ Elimination Final loss to the Western Bulldogs.
Gleeson played 60 games between 2015 and 2017 before missing the entire 2018 season after suffering a serious ankle injury in the pre-season.
He was in and out of the side in his final three years at Tullamarine, making 28 senior appearances before not being offered a contract for 2022.
“I’ve been in pretty constant dialogue with ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) throughout the year and I was aware where I was sitting in the pecking order and my role within the team,” Gleeson told SEN Afternoons.
“Throughout the year, I was in and out of the team a little bit.
“We had a few talks about what next year looks like, I knew throughout the year and towards the end of the year that it’s going to be touch and go. That was the same message I got at my exit meetings.
“About a week ago, I got the call from Adrian (Dodoro) and Truck to come in and have a bit of a chat. They told me that they weren’t going to offer me a contract for next year. Until you hear those words come out of their mouth, it doesn’t quite feel real, but now I’ve had a bit of time to digest it.
“It’s all part of the journey.”
Available as a delisted free agent, Gleeson is keen to continue his AFL career at another club.
“That desire to be on an AFL list is still there,” he said.
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot more to give if the opportunity came my way.
“I think towards the end of this year, that fire kept burning more, getting back into the team and playing some footy, especially playing in that final, that’s what we’re here for.
“That fire is still there.”
Gleeson was selected with pick No.53 in the 2012 National Draft.