It appeared to be the final insult for Darius Boyd after a challenging 2019 NRL season.
But Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold is confident his decision to strip Boyd of the Broncos captaincy will only help the veteran back bounce back to his best.
Seibold was the first to admit that Boyd had copped criticism in a frustrating 2019 campaign capped by Brisbane's embarrassing finals exit - a record 58-0 loss to Parramatta.
Shifted from his preferred fullback spot after his defence was questioned, Boyd did not appear to fare any better when slotted into five-eighth with another makeshift half, regular hooker Jake Turpin.
While he did not think barbs directed at Boyd were warranted, Seibold said "external noise" had prompted him to make his bold call to name veteran back-rower Alex Glenn as 2020 Broncos skipper.
"Darius did a terrific job as captain over the last 12 months in challenging times," he said.
"He has got great strategies in place around coping with the highs and lows of professional sport and he wants what is best for the club and has always been a team person.
"But one thing I saw throughout the year was that for whatever reason there was a lot of external noise and pressure around Darius.
"Darius is a legend of our club and a legend of our game ... and I just wanted to take some of those commitments away.
"He doesn't need to do all the external things that a club captain has to do."
The jury is out on where Boyd will even feature in the Broncos line-up in 2020.
He has spent time at centre and on the wing in pre-season after appearing to have lost his halves spot with ex-Melbourne playmaker Brodie Croft's arrival.
And Jamayne Isaako looks set to get first shot at Boyd's preferred fullback position.
Whether Boyd gets game time is crucial to whether the former Test and Queensland No.1 sees out his Broncos deal on his terms.
He is contracted until the end of 2020 and can trigger a 12 month option if he plays at least 15 games this year.
But Seibold was confident that his demotion of Boyd would bring out the 32-year-old's best in 2020.
"That is why I made the decision," he said.
"He has known since last September that he wouldn't be the captain this year, and the thing I admire about Darius is that it hasn't altered his attitude or actions in any way, shape or form.
"He remains an integral part of our leadership group. He is very supportive of Alex and all the other young leaders that we are trying to grow."
Australian Associated Press