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Hird accepts medal invite

Peter Ryan afl.com.au  August 10, 2017 3:20 PM

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James Hird won the Norm Smith Medal when the Bombers beat Melbourne by 60 points in the 2000 Grand Final.

James Hird has accepted the AFL's invitation to present the Norm Smith Medal on Grand Final day.

AFL CEO Gill McLachlan said he appreciated the 44-year-old's decision to take up the AFL's offer and he hoped the sporting public would respect the former Essendon's great's role in the day.

"We look forward to welcoming him back into the fold," McLachlan said.

"We have got a mature football industry. I know there will be mixed views and I hope that on the day, in the moment, people will be accepting."

Hird won the medal in 2000 when captain of Essendon and it was his turn to be invited to present this year's award.

He has not been involved in the game for the past two seasons after his turbulent time as coach of the Bombers ended in 2015.

However he attended a Bombers coterie event in Tasmania recently with his former coach Kevin Sheedy.

Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner told ABC radio on Saturday he hoped Hird would gradually return to the Bombers' fold, but he was conscious to ensure it happened at a time and in a way that was comfortable for Hird.

Hird was suspended from the game in 2014 after the AFL charged him for bringing the game into disrepute when coach of Essendon following the supplements program.

His skipper at the time, Jobe Watson, announced on Wednesday that he was retiring at the end of this season.