THE RACE to be Brisbane Lions' co-captain alongside Jonathan Brown is wide open after coach Michael Voss said the candidates could come from outside last season's leadership group.
After a number of discussions either side of Christmas, Brown initially decided he was prepared to stand aside as captain, before Voss talked him into the co-captaincy idea.
Brown has been the sole leader of the club since Voss took over the reigns from Leigh Matthews in 2009 and said it was time to begin a succession plan, with his career in its latter stages.
Last year's vice-captains Daniel Merrett, Jed Adcock and Tom Rockliff would appear front-runners, although ever-maturing midfielder Daniel Rich is likely to throw his name in the ring.
In fact, The Courier Mail reported on Saturday that Rich has emerged as the early favourite to join Brown as the Club's new Co-Captain.
Voss said a decision would be made shortly, with a small group of people, including Brown, to make the judgement after discussions with players and coaching staff.
"We're not giving a deadline but the sooner the better. We'd like to have an announcement very, very shortly," Voss said
"I'm looking forward to seeing who pops up and who the players are looking at to lead us into the future."
Voss said it felt wrong for Brown to step aside altogether and he felt the 31-year-old's presence as a leader was still invaluable.
Brown said it was a good time to groom another leader, and he had no preference whether it was a youngster or someone with more experience.
"Initially it started out as maybe being time for me to hand it over and give someone else a crack at it ... but Vossy came up with the suggestion of the co-captaincy and I went away and thought about it and thought it was a fantastic idea," Brown said.
"I'm excited about helping, being there to support the other captain and help them along and help them develop, but at the same time I love being captain of the club and leading the boys out.
"We've got a lot of guys that are ready for it. Whoever gets the opportunity of being co-captain will do a fantastic job, whether that be for two or three years or 10 years, I'm not sure. There's a lot of guys putting their hand up."
Brown also quashed rumours of a move to Collingwood at the end of the season, when his contract expires.
He said although he was taking his career "year at a time", he intended on staying a Lion.
"I'm not sure whether there's a good deal getting a 32-year-old broken down centre half-forward, so if I was Collingwood I'd probably look elsewhere," he said.
"I'm not going anywhere. I love this footy club, I want to get through and play my career out at one club and enjoy the fruits of the last few years of development. I'd certainly love to be part of the team that gets the group back to playing finals footy at least. I'll keep giving my all."
Michael Whiting covers Brisbane Lions news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting