Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown hanging up his boots after 256 games

BRISBANE Lions champion Jonathan Brown has hung up his boots after an outstanding 15-year career at the club.

The former captain suffered a series of head knocks during his career, and missed Saturday's 83-point loss to Fremantle after suffering concussion against the Giants in round 13.

Brown said medical advice he received last week about the danger of playing on had convinced him to retire immediately.

"The desire to play footy was still there, but at the end of the day I think it is the right time to hang up the boots," he said.

"You could always play that one more game, but it only takes one instance to cause some serious damage.

"You have to consider the future and I've spent some time with (wife) Kylie and the kids over the past few days and that underlined for me some of the most important things in life."

The 32-year-old paid tribute to several team-mates and past coaches, including Michael Voss, Brad and Chris Scott, Alastair Lynch and Leigh Matthews, for giving him the inspiration to become one of the greats of the game.

Regarded as one of the most courageous players of all-time, Brown played 256 games for the Lions, including three premierships, and kicked 594 goals.

His other achievements included two-time All Australian selection, Coleman Medallist (2007) and three-time recipient of the AFLPA Most Courageous Player award.

He will continue on at the club in a mentoring role to younger players.

Earlier, Brown addressed the media along with coach Justin Leppitsch and football director Leigh Matthews, who also coached the AFL club from 1999 to 2008.

The powerful centre-half forward and Brisbane Lions club captain's strength, skill and aggression has earned him the respect and admiration of the entire football community.

 Despite playing just 15 senior matches in 2013, Brown still led the club's goal-kicking for a record fifth time (with 28), and took the most contested marks of any Lions player (26).

Brown's foot injury generated some discussion as to whether he would play on in 2014.

However he quashed all rumours of retirement when by re-signing for one more year following discussions with new senior coach (and former premiership teammate) Justin Leppitsch. 

Brown  boasts a strong football pedigree.

His father Brian played 50 matches with Fitzroy while his uncles Noel Mugavin (Fitzroy and Richmond) and Billy Picken (Collingwood and Sydney) both enjoyed careers in the then VFL.

He got involved in football at an early age and made his senior debut with South Warrnambool as a 15 year-old in 1997.

He moved onto the Geelong Falcons TAC Cup side by mid 1998 after establishing himself in the local leagues.

He won All-Australian honours representing Victorian Country at the 1999 national U18 carnival in Brisbane and shaped as a leading candidate in the National Draft.

He was also a promising cricketer.

A left-arm fast bowler, Brown played A-grade cricket with Wesley CBC in Warrnambool and was invited to join the U17 Victorian squad in 1998 after performing well in the State championships.

Despite being touted as a potential top five selection in the 1999 AFL National Draft, Brown - a life-long Fitzroy supporter - had fortunately already committed himself to the Lions under the father/son rule which enabled the Club to secure him with their second round pick No.30.