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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just ahead of Round 13, Adelaide's Brett Burton announced he would retire at the end of the season. He is the third Crow veteran to do so. Tyson Edwards retired after Round 11 while Simon Goodwin also said 2010 would be his last season. Burton, 32, debuted in 1999. The Round 13 game against Melbourne was his 178th game. Ahead of that game, Burton has 264 goals to his name.

Burton was an instant hit in his debut season, playing 21 games and kicking 25 goals. He won a nomination for the Rising Star award and finished second in the final voting behind Sydney's Adam Goodes. Known as the "Birdman" for his spectacular aerial skills, he won Mark of the Year (best catch of the ball) in 2009 and led Adelaide's goal kicking in 2002 and 2008.

He injured his knee late in 2008 which required a reconstruction and missed most of 2009. He returned strongly late in 2009 to play seven games, including two finals. He suffered a setback in Adelaide's first preseason game this year but was back playing early in the season. However, more surgery on his troublesome knee after Round Seven and Goodwin's announcement made Burton consider his future. He said he knew it was time to hang up the boots. He still hopes to come back to finish out the season strongly and leave the game on his own terms.

Adelaide CEO Steven Trigg described Burton as a wonderful player for the Crows and one of the most exciting in the league. Trigg praised Burton for his professionalism and preparation and his ability to bounce back from injury.

Coach Neil Craig said the mark he took in Round 22 last season - which earned him the award - was something he would always remember. He conceded that at the time, he thought Burton was struggling with a hamstring injury and was considering taking him off the ground but decided against the move. Burton subsequently soared over a pack of players to take the amazing grab.

He may not grace the playing fields and thrill fans with his aerial feats after this year but Burton will not be lost to the game. Over the years, he has suffered a number of injuries and used his time on the sidelines to earn a degree in sports science and would like to pursue a career as a fitness coach. He has already established a fitness business near AAMI Stadium. He is also planning to stay involved with the AFLPA as a player advocate. He is the union president and has been the club's AFLPA delegate for the past five years as well as serving on the executive committee.

Source: Herald Sun; David Burtenshaw, Club Media Release

Article last changed on Wednesday, July 07, 2010 - 8:03 PM EDT

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