IT WAS during a 9-9 draw at Hull that I first hurt my neck.
I went in to make a tackle and everything went numb on my right side. A burning pain shot up my upper back.
I had no strength in my right arm, came off the pitch and was ordered to rest for a week.
When I tried to do weights I could not push my arm beyond a certain point. In attempting to push it I managed to drop a 35kg weight on my head.
Basically, I had hammered one of the discs in my neck that had swollen and squeezed a nerve. It wasn’t until six months later that the disc broke apart, leaving me in a world of pain.
A bit like dropping the weight on my head a second time, I knew then that I could have called it quits, although an actual opportunity to retire came as a bolt from the blue.
I went in to see Jon to have a talk about the next couple of years. My contract was up at the end of the 2007 season and I wanted to know what my future held.
I appreciated that I was no spring chicken at 31 and I could see the club moving forward with the signings that they were making.
The former Wigan scrum half Luke Robinson was recruited for 2008 from Salford and Kevin Brown’s ball skills had seen him converted from centre to stand-off.
The club also had back up in Ryan Hudson at hooker, a position that I had learned to love in being bigger, stronger and smarter.
I had a good game in a win at Harlequins when Jon told me that I did not figure in his plans for the following year.
You could have knocked me down with a feather.
For the first time in my career there was no prospect of ongoing rugby. I almost didn’t catch the other words that Jon spoke. Something about the club having another proposition.
The reassurance I sought came from my agent David McKnight, who told me he knew of another club interested in signing me.
That club turned out to be Salford City Reds, but what Huddersfield had to say got me thinking further.
The role the Giants had in mind was a marketing one. However, that would mean retiring. Was I really ready to hang up my boots?
It was a surreal spell playing with a team who climbed the table again at the back end of the season, finishing fifth and qualifying for the play-offs for the first time, while contemplating the end of my career.
The Giants gave me a couple of weeks to make my decision, during which I had lunch with Ken Davy, Huddersfield’s chairman, who shared his fascinating rags to riches story from leaving school at 15 without academic qualifications, working as a photographer on P&O cruise ships, setting up a commercial photography business and diverting into the financial advice sector.
The Giants would not be where they are without Ken, who has been instrumental in the club’s revival during the Super League era.
I have always been inspired by him and thought that here was a man I could work for.
The package was a good one and, in my head, I was already retired when the day eventually came to put pen to paper.
Half-an-hour before I was due to put pen to paper I rang Ken. “I want to thank you for the opportunity,” I said.
“But I’ve asked the question whether I’m ready to retire – and I’m not. I love this game too much and still think I’ve something to offer. Sorry but I’m not ready.”