LEEDS RHINOS legend Rob Burrow says he wants to end his playing career on his own terms.
Burrow, 34, had the option to play on for Rhinos next year, but will instead hang up his boots to take a backroom role at the club.
He is the last of Rhinos’ seven-time Grand Final winners to call it a day and Jamie Jones-Buchanan is set to be the sole remaining member of the club’s golden generation playing for Leeds next year.
Burrow admitted it was a tough decision to make, but insisted the time is right for both him and the club.
He said: “It [playing rugby] is all I have ever known and all I’ve ever loved doing, but I was keen to go out on my terms and not play on too long.
“I want to go out on a high – when I am playing well – and I am really excited about the next part of my life in rugby, which is dealing with the youth coming through at the club.
“I will be heavily involved in the youth development so I will still be around the club on a day-to-day basis, just not playing.”
Burrow made his Rhinos debut in 2001 and has scored 194 tries, 157 goals and five drop goals – a total of 1,095 points – in 486 games for the club.
Only six players have made more appearances for Leeds. Burrow is Rhinos’ ninth-highest points scorer and occupies a similar position on Super League’s list of all-time try scorers, with 166.
As well as his seven Grand Final wins, two of those as man of the match, the half-back/hooker has lifted the league leaders’ shield and World Club Challenge trophy three times each and the Challenge Cup twice.
He has five Great Britain caps and played 14 times for England.
Burrow is currently on Rhinos’ casualty list as he recovers from shoulder surgery and said retiring with his health intact was a key factor in bringing his playing days to an end. He added: “I feel pretty good, but there’s some young lads coming through and I just think it is time for them to take over.
“I am not getting any younger. While I still feel I can do a job, I don’t want my body to be ruined after rugby. I want to be healthy so I can run around with the kids and things like that.
“My body is aching a lot more now after games than it used to and I just want to be healthy.
“An opportunity has come up and I am excited and looking forward to the next chapter.”
Burrow’s announcement has come just a week after teammate Danny McGuire, who came through Leeds’ academy system with him, revealed he will leave Rhinos at the end of the season.
McGuire has signed for Hull Kingston Rovers on a two-year contract, but Burrow said he didn’t consider going to play for another club.
“I don’t feel I could go anywhere else,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve got the life in me, rugby-wise, to go to another club and prove something there. I have always been a one-club man.
“There’s been opportunities to go elsewhere during my career, but I’ve always wanted to be loyal to Leeds and play for the club I supported.
“At this stage of my career I am not looking for a new challenge.
“If I had played another year it would definitely have been here.”