Marc Murphy gave serious thought to leaving Carlton before he chose the Blues over the lure of an elusive AFL premiership.
The 30-year-old captain has confirmed a two-year deal, meaning he will retire as a one-club player.
Given the state of the Blues' rebuild - they are bottom with only win for the season - he will retire without a flag unless something dramatic happens.
Murphy has ended weeks of speculation about his future and also returned on Saturday for only his fifth game this season, after overcoming a persistent foot injury.
"You have to think about that - that (becoming a premiership player) is the reason why you play football," he said.
"But the thinking behind it was I'd spent 13 years here - would it be a hollow feeling going somewhere else?
"Or was I keen to stick it out here and try to build something, be a part of something special here?
"We're certainly building a list that ultimately can get to that stage - hopefully that's pretty soon."
Murphy said he thought of former Richmond captain Chris Newman, who retired two years before the Tigers broke their long premiership drought last September.
"No doubt he had an influence on the way their culture is - that's something I thought was more important," Murphy said.
Murphy added the immediate reaction to his decision reassured him that he made the right call in staying.
"A fair bit of weight has been lifted off my shoulders, just knowing first of all that I can play footy again," he said.
"That's what I love doing.
"Then, from telling blokes I've played a lot of football with and calling Bolts ... (coach Brendon Bolton) letting him know, seeing those guys, the way they reacted, made me feel really good about myself.
"I'm really comfortable about the decision."
Murphy told the club last week, but they kept it quiet so all the focus was on Kade Simpson's 300th game.
Given the decision about his playing future and returning from injury, Murphy has given no thought to how long he will stay captain.
But he said deputies Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty were already well-equipped to take over.
"They'll lead really well ... they're fine," he said.
Murphy added the tide can turn quickly in the AFL and he is excited by the young Blues stars, led by Cripps and Charlie Curnow.
He said the dreadful first half against Fremantle last month, the low point of Carlton's season, was a major wake-up call for the Blues.
"Although you don't like to see that sort of performance, it hit the group pretty hard and what it means to play for Carlton,"' he said.
"When you wear that jumper, you can't play like that.
"It was a bit of a defining moment for a few of our guys, who hadn't played a lot of footy here yet, to understand that you can't dish that up."