Former Eastbourne Borough player of the year Adam Watts mutually agreed with the club on Thursday to cancel his contract.
The former Fulham centre-back has been hindered by injuries for the past two seasons and played through pain as he worked to shrug off persistent knee and ankle problems.
Watts, 27, reluctantly decided he must take a complete rest from the game.
Speaking on Thursday, Watts said, “It is the hardest decision I have had to make in football. I have played football from the age of 16 so to cancel my contract was so tough, I’m gutted.
“I have spoken to my family, the gaffer and ex-players and they all understand the reasons. I had to make the decision for me as I just couldn’t get myself fit for 90 minutes.
“It’s no good me putting myself out there on match days then having to come off after 20 minutes. It’s not fair on the team, the gaffer or the fans.
“I’m not saying I’m packing in football completely but I’m going to give my body some proper time to rest and hopefully recover and then see what happens. It could be that I can play again but at this stage, I’m not certain.”
Watts added, “I have enjoyed my four years here. The club, the gaffer,the supporters have been great, It’s a great club. The gaffer is keen to push it forward and get promoted and even though we have a smaller budget I still think we can achieve it.”
The tall defender was one of Widdrington’s first signings when he arrived at Priory Lane four seasons ago.
He soon proved a popular figure at the Lane and two seasons ago he swept the board at the awards night as he collected the manager’s, players’ and fans’ player of the season trophies.
Boss Widdrington added, “Adam must put his body and health before his football for a while.
“He has thought long and hard and has been honest to himself and to the football club. At his best, Adam is as fine a player as any defender in this division, and he has served the club superbly in his time here.
“Just as important, he is a top young man with character and integrity, and is greatly respected at Borough and beyond. We will stay in contact with each other.”
Adam will attend the home game against Oxford City on Saturday week (December 5), when his many friends at Priory Lane will have a chance to catch up with him.
Borough, who were excellent last week as they rattled 3-0 past Chelmsford, will return to action on Sunday as they take on Hayes and Yeading the FA Trophy.
The match is on Sunday as they ground share with Maidenhead who are in Trophy action on Saturday.
Widdrington added, “The Trophy is a competition we are keen to do well in. It gives the lads a break from the league and hopefully it’s a game we can enjoy and go on to win. Training has been excellent this week and we want to follow up last week’s win with another positive performance and result.”
Borough will face Three Bridges in the last 16 of the Sussex Senior Cup. Bridges beat Brighton in midweek.