Castleford winger Kirk Dixon says his respect for coach Daryl Powell and his team-mates swayed his decision to retire after undergoing neck surgery.
The 30-year-old, who has been with Tigers since 2006, faced a seven-month absence following the operation.
In addition, he had concerns about his long-term welfare on return to fitness.
"I didn't want to sit there for seven months picking up a wage, taking up a spot and not contributing," Dixon told BBC Radio Leeds.
"I've got more respect for the club and the coach and players than that. It is the right decision all round.
"The surgeon's opinion was that I should look where I am in my career and at the risks that are there.
"It was the second neck procedure I'd had and the way the sport is going and the physicality of the sport it would have been tough to come back playing.
"I didn't know if I could give my best knowing what sort of performances I'd put in."
Hull-born Dixon scored 70 tries and 269 goals in 158 top-flight games across 10 years in professional rugby league, in addition to passing the 1,000-point mark for Cas in all competitions.
His input from wing or centre helped restore Castleford's place in Super League during his first campaign at Wheldon Road, while his last season brought a 2014 Challenge Cup final appearance - their first visit to Wembley in 22 years - and the Super League play-offs.
"The support I've had has been overwhelming, on social media, texts and calls - it's been quite humbling," added Dixon.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, it'll hit me more when the boys run out against Wakefield and not being able to put that shirt on is quite sad, it's all I've known for the last nine years."