Jon Wilkin believes ex-players who miss playing are “crazy”

When players retire from rugby league they usually have three options.

Either they leave the game entirely, go into punditry or end up as a coach.

Jon Wilkin of course ended up going the pundit route, though he does have his own business now.

But who did he avoid going into coaching?

Wilkin explained on Talksport:

“You’ve got to be obsessed with the game to be a coach, it consumed your life completely. When you’re a player it’s such a precarious situation, your contract is up at this stage, you might be injured, for a family and people around you that can be quite stressful. I didn’t find it stressful but it is for your wife and people around you.

“I thought why would you go from a situation in life where there’s that much at stake every couple of years, where it’s really stressful and your jobs on the line.

“I’ve got a business that’s doing great, I don’t need to do it. I just don’t need to do it. I could do it, I’m not saying that out of arrogance, but I could coach. I know I could but I don’t want to.”

When asked if he misses playing the game, he was adamant that he doesn’t even describing the idea of playing as “alien” to him now and “crazy.”

“Not at all, some people say that and they don’t mean it and I get that,” he said.

“I was at the Grand Final last year and was stood next to, I think it was Paul Sculthorpe and he said, ‘these are the days I miss’.

“I was looking at him thinking that he was an alien. I was just like, ‘are you crazy? Have you seen the size of these people?’

“It’s hard to actually put myself in the position where I used to play when I watch games now. I can’t imagine myself out there. I’d retired mentally five or six years before I did and I mean that in the best way possible.

“I was creating social networks outside of the game and I was growing my business. We talk all the time about exit routes in sport, well instead of calling it retirement I just think of it as a career change. Just changing those words, saying you’re retried has such finality to it. What are you going to do? Go play golf four times a week and buy a flat in Tenerife. I’ve not retired, I’ve just changed my job and my job is more varied now. It’s lees structured which I love, I love life and I’ve got a great life.”

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