Rangi Chase says he is happier than he has ever been as he takes an indefinite break from rugby league, and revealed he has been battling depression.
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont announced earlier this week Chase had quit the sport after being released by the Centurions just six months after joining from Salford on a two-year contract.
The 30-year-old former England stand-off insists he has not yet called time on his rugby career completely, but admits he is in a much better place mentally now as he focuses on his family.
Chase, who recently reunited with wife Libby following a split, told the Daily Mirror: “This is the happiest I’ve been in my life.
“Rugby-wise it hasn’t gone well for me the last few years. It’s not because of the game or where I’ve been at, it’s just the situation I’ve been in as an individual.
“Me and my wife have just got back together recently - for a year there we were finished. It happened when I was at Salford, it really hurt me and I went into a dark place.
“I was depressed a lot, sometimes I couldn’t even go out for groceries. I thought it would be a fresh start at Leigh and I could give it my all, which I tried, but it wasn’t enough.
“I wasn’t seeing my kids as much and I’d beat myself up over that. It’s taken me a while to get over that, and rugby sort of got in the way.”
New Zealand-born Chase, who was named Man of Steel in 2011 while playing for Castleford, admits he does not know what he will do in the future but says he has not definitely hung up his boots.
He added: “I’ll never say I’m stepping away for good - it might do me some good to get myself recharged mentally and physically.
“I’m not silly, I’ve got a mortgage to pay for and kids to feed. I’ve got a few months to sit back and decide, I might have to go and get a job digging holes and I’m happy with that.
“Now it’s about seeing my kids smiling and happy - things I overlooked when I was too caught up in rugby league.”