He is now considering his options - but remaining in the professional game is not an avenue he wants to explore..
"What I won't do is become a coach at a professional club. I will watch Sale, I still go down there to see the lads. I'll go to the gym, I'll watch England. It must be quite nice to be sat there in a corporate dinner, then to go and watch the lads kick lumps out of each other," he said.
"What I'd love to do is focus on the community, talking to children who may have been off the rails, about lifestyle. I have been at both ends of it, from the heavy drinking and seeing drugs around me, to the profile of the international sportsman.
"Perhaps I can be a role model to get across to people they can make something of it. Why can't what happened to me happen to them?"