LEEDS RHINOS legend Rob Burrow is to retire at the end of this playing season.
Burrow, 34, will take up a new role in Rhinos’ player performance department from next year, working with the club’s youth and talent development programme.
The news comes just eight days after Burrow’s long-time team-mate Danny McGuire announced his exit at the end of the current campaign.
Burrow, the shortest player in Super League at just 5ft 5ins, is fifth on Leeds’ all-time list of appearances, with 486 and is a seven-time Grand Final winner.
He said: “It has been an honour to play for Leeds my entire career and I feel now is the right time to move on to the next chapter.
“I have been part of so many fantastic memories down the years and hopefully we can create a few more in the months ahead before I hang up my boots.”
Of his new role, he added: “Player development is something that has always interested me having worked with the scholarship for many years earlier in my career and seen players like Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe and Ashton Golding come through from being schoolboys to first-team players.
“Hopefully I can pass on my experience and love of the club to the next generation in my new role.”
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott described Burrow as “one of the greats of our game, not just in the Super League era, but throughout the history of the sport”.
He added: “He is someone who never gave into the doubts of others early in his career and has continued to strive for excellence ever since.
“His role within the team has changed over the past 15 years, but his selfless attitude has meant he has always put the needs of the team ahead of his own preferences and has collected a host of silverware in return.
“Rob is one of the most popular members of our squad and I am delighted he will still be in and around the training ground next season after retirement.
“Just as Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and most recently Danny McGuire, have forged their own paths post-rugby, they always know that there is a place for them at the Rhinos.
“Away from the field, Rob and Danny have been exemplary professionals and ambassadors for our club and it is fitting they will bow out together this year.”
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Rob has been a terrific player who has made a big contribution and done it with real determination.
“He has exceptional speed and bravery and toughness and those natural abilities mark him out as a really special player.”