DEWSBURY Rams have paid a glowing tribute to star signing Nick Fozzard, who was forced to retire from professional rugby league on Monday.
Fozzard had scans on a shoulder injury, which revealed he has a torn rotator cuff, which would require surgery to repair and then keep him on the sidelines for at least nine months.
The 35-year-old informed Rams chairman Mark Sawyer that he had decided to retire and said he did not wish to claim any more of the contract money he was entitled to.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Sawyer said: “Nick was entitled to his money for the full season but he doesn’t want to draw anymore, which is a brilliant gesture.
“Ninety per cent of players would not have done that and I would like to personally thank Nick for this great gesture.
“Nick has told me, he wants to put the money back into the club, so that we can try and find a replacement.”
Coach Warren Jowitt, who signed Fozzard last October, added: “I am gutted that we have lost a player of this calibre.
“He has been a big part of the team in pre-season and a giant character in the dressing room.
“Nick had high hopes for the season and was hoping to bring success to Dewsbury on the field but that has been cut short. I really feel for him, after 18 years in the game it is a tough decision.
“Nick said he felt he was letting people down but he hasn’t. He also said he knew how important it is for me to find another player and he didn’t want to take any more wages.We would like to wish him and his family all the best.”
Yesterday (Thursday) it was announced Castleford Tigers have appointed Fozzard as their new commercial manager.
The former Leeds, Huddersfield, Warrington, St Helens, Hull KR, Castleford and Great Britain prop has swopped his boots for a briefcase after deciding the time was right to call it a day.
“My body has finally told me to pack in playing and I’ve listened to it,” said Fozzard.
“The time was right to retire from playing and I feel very fortunate to have had such a long and enjoyable career in the game.
“I’m now ready for the next chapter and look forward to embracing some new challenges off the field.
“I was fortunate to have some different options open to me, but I was impressed by the ambition of the Tigers’ board and can see how it is a club with a very bright future, particularly with the new stadium on the horizon.”
It shows how popular Fozzard is that his twitter account has been full of messages of goodwill from fellow professionals and supporters of many clubs.
There had been calls for Fozzard to make the switch to media work but his future is now with the Tigers.
Fozzard made his Rams debut in the 28-6 Boxing Day victory over Batley.
He also played in the friendly against Bradford Bulls and featured in the Northern Rail Cup games at Featherstone and home to Halifax before the shoulder injury forced him to miss the last three matches.