If James Hird does end up making a sensational return to Essendon, it looks like he won't be coaching his son.
Essendon announced on Tuesday that Tom Hird was one of three players who had been de-listed by the club.
Hird, Tom Cutler and Garrett McDonagh will all depart the club after they weren't offered new contracts.
"It is always a tough time of the year when we make changes to our playing list," Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said.
"These three players handled this news with great professionalism and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours.
"They will always be welcome at the Essendon Football Club."
Tom Hird, son of club legend James, was signed by Essendon as a category B rookie in early 2020.
However he never made it to AFL level before departing the club.
The news comes amid rumours that Essendon are targeting James Hird to make a sensational return as coach.
The Bombers sacked Ben Rutten after a three-hour board meeting on Sunday, having previously failed to lure Alastair Clarkson, and will now search for their third coach in four seasons.
Essendon president David Barham said the club would finalise their recruitment process, to be run by internal and external figures, in the coming days and "have a new coach in place as soon as possible".
That means the recruitment process will start before the club receives the findings of an impending review.
"We can do both things at the same time. We can effectively manage both processes at the same time," Barham told reporters.
"So we need to get on with it because this is where we are. We also need to do a thorough review of the football club, so we can do both those things successfully at the same time.
"We think we're after a more experienced coach. We think a more experienced coach might be able to get more out of this list and we really want to give our list the best chance."
James Hird set to return as Essendon coach?
Chief executive Xavier Campbell indicated the coach would need to be in place ahead of the trade and draft periods.
"We'd love to think that by the end of September, we're in a good position to have found the next coach of the Essendon Football Club," he said.
"Which positions them well enough to certainly have a positive impact on some critical industry timelines."
The Bombers have already been linked to former mentor Hird, but Barham said he hadn't "sounded out" any options.
Rutten departed after coaching the Bombers to 17 wins and 26 losses across two seasons, including leading them to the finals in his first campaign in 2021.
Hird, who became a leadership advisor for the GWS Giants at the start of 2021, has since moved into an expanded assistant coaching role.
The role ended a seven-year exodus from the AFL for Hird after his tumultuous time in charge of the Bombers came to an end in 2015.
Hird played 253 games for Essendon before coaching them for 83 games between 2011 and 2015.
However the fact he was banned in 2013 for his role in the club's doping scandal had raised questions about whether the AFL would ever let him coach again.
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