Former Essendon coach James Hird is back. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Former Essendon coach James Hird is back. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

James Hird’s return to footy complete

James Hird has revealed he will be joining Triple M in an expert commentary role starting with his former club's attempt at redemption against St Kilda on Saturday.

Hird, who reportedly knocked back an offer to join Fremantle as an opposition analyst, was lost to the game after his tumultuous tenure at the helm of the Bombers.

But the 46-year-old - who insists he "loves the game and have always loved the game" - is returning to radio.

He will be charged with dissecting Essendon, which was arguably the most disappointing team in round one as John Worsfold's side slumped to a 72-point away defeat against GWS.

"I was hoping it'd be an easier game to commentate, but after the goings-on on the weekend it might be a bit more controversial," he told Triple M.

"I finished coaching four or five years ago and haven't had any involvement in the game.

"Really enjoy it, good to be watching it and commentating on it."

Hird said he still held resentment towards "some people" in the media, but was keen to move on. "The family went through a lot - as everyone's family at Essendon did during that time - but to step back in wasn't an easy decision and something that we've been weighing up for a couple of years," he said.

"It was a hard time for everyone, the game, Essendon people, for the players for, our family, but there's a point where you move on and say 'enough is enough'.

"Football has been a huge part of my life and given me a lot of things and I'd like to be part of it again."

James Hird was at the centre of the supplements scandal that ruined Essendon. Picture: Nicole Garmston
James Hird was at the centre of the supplements scandal that ruined Essendon. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Hird also opened up on his mental health battles of 2017, when he spent five weeks in a specialist mental health care facility.

"When you're going through something like depression you feel like you're at the bottom of a deep well and people are throwing bricks at your head and you can't get out of that period it takes its toll," Hird said.

"It's something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy but then when you come out of that, life feels even better.

"When you spend five weeks in a mental institution trying to recover from severe depression I suppose you look at it and you say, 'Is there something to be ashamed of?'.

"For me, what I'm more ashamed of is as a coach, not giving depression and mental health the respect it deserves.

"We had a couple of players in institutions when I was coaching and the natural reaction was, 'Can't we just make them happy and they'll be okay?'.

"That's the thing I'm more ashamed of than actually going through it. It was a very difficult time.

"I was incredibly lucky that (wife) Tania was around and made the decision to put me in that institution to give me a chance to recover. But it's something I'd hate to go through again."