JIMMY Bartel is open to making an AFL comeback barely more than a year since he played his last game for Geelong.
But Melbourne great David Schwarz has described Bartel’s shock call as “silly” and one he’d regret down the track.
Bartel revealed he would “rather have the opportunity and fail than not have the opportunity” when quizzed on his ambitions to pull on the boots again.
Inspired by the lead of close friend Luke Hodge, the Brownlow medallist was forced out by the Cats at the end of 2016.
The 33-year-old spent this year fulfilling radio duties with 3AW as an expert commentator and had a spell on the match review panel.
Bartel also trained at St Kevin’s Old Boys — the eventual A-Grade premiers in the Victorian Amateur Football Association — but didn’t play a game.
“I am such a competitive person,” Bartel said on RSN927.
“A lot of people sit there and go ‘why would you do that and risk damaging your legacy?’, but footballers at the highest level are natural risk takers.
“It’s a bit of the conversation about, ‘why would you want to get to a grand final and lose?’.
“People would say, ‘I’d rather have lost in the prelim because then I don’t have to suffer the heartache’.
“I’d rather the chance of winning the premiership. I’d rather go six grand finals and lose them all than never make a grand final.
“I think if you ask a lot of footballers who have had a long career, they’d have the same mindset.
“So to take that across to another club, I don’t care what people think of me, but I’d rather have the opportunity and fail than not have the opportunity.”
Schwarz described Bartel’s statement as “bold” but said it wouldn’t be a good move for the Geelong champion.
“I love Jimmy. I watched him play and I thought he may have been able to get around this year. I thought he might sneak in 12 or 14 games, I didn’t think he’d be able to play the whole season without missing,” Schwarz told SEN.
“(But) I think 12 months out of the game, trying to come back, I think that’d be a silly move for Jimmy.
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“I’m sure that if Jim put his hand up to go and coach somewhere at another club, he’d have no trouble getting picked up because of his experiences and accomplishments and the quality person that he is.
“(But) if he goes back and plays, I reckon he’ll look back in 10 years and go ‘you know what, I was probably done and I went back for all the wrong reasons.”
Bartel admitted Sam Mitchell’s departure from Hawthorn to West Coast and Hodge’s recent retirement backflip has altered the landscape and opened his mind to possibilities for 2018.
“I think it’s changed everyone’s thinking and the landscape of it,” Bartel said.
“Previously, until these guys did it, I think everyone goes, ‘you ruin your legacy’ and all that. But I think people understand the bigger picture now and I still think of Sam Mitchell as a Hawthorn legend.
“I still think of Luke Hodge as a Hawthorn legend, (Jordan) Lewis as well.
“I’m a footballer first and competitive by nature and that’s probably been the toughest thing for me this year, to actually find something to get that competitive itch scratched,” he said.
“I think you have to have the conversation, don’t you? If you’re a footballer for 15 years, I think you do.
“And that doesn’t mean you’re going to say yes, but what’s the harm in talking to people?”
The three-time premiership player appeared in 22 of a possible 24 matches in 2016. And despite hitting a trigger clause that would have allowed him to play on, Bartel called it quits following Geelong’s preliminary final loss to Sydney.
In that match, the 305th of his career, he notched 26 disposals.
This content was originally published here.