After 2136 days on the sidelines and six knee reconstructions, Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson will not be returning to the club for the 2019 AFL season.
In a statement released on Friday, Swans coach John Longmire said Johnson, 26, who again ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in round 21 in August while playing only his second match since 2012, had been an “incredible servant of the club”.
“He has shown unbelievable resilience and he’s a much-admired player among his teammates, coaches, staff and wider AFL community,” Longmire said.
“Alex’s perseverance and strength is among the best I’ve seen in the game and it was a real credit to him that he was able to fight his way back to playing after so many setbacks.”
“This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the reality is he faced another extended stint on the sideline. We explored the possibility of Alex staying involved with the Club in a non-playing capacity, but he’s keen to explore other opportunities,” he said.
Johnson said that while he was disappointed with the decision, he was still keen to play football at the highest level.
“I have made life-long friends and lived out my childhood dream of playing AFL, including the premiership in 2012.”
“Although it has been a very difficult last six years I will be forever grateful that the Club stuck by me and gave me every opportunity to get back and play at the highest level,” he said.
Johnson played 47 senior games for the club and was part of the 2012 premiership team.