Latrell Mitchell lost the love.
Hard to imagine when he was turning the SCG into his own backyard, and Wests Tigers his own Washington Generals, as he rattled up a Globetrotter-esque 26 points on his own last May.
Not so hard to picture amid the crush of endless contract speculation, Origin axing, racist trolls, Mercedes Benz beat-ups and everything else that kept sports pages in print this past year.
"I just want to find that love for footy again and start playing and enjoying it," Mitchell said in cardinal and myrtle for the first time on Monday.
"I thought my life was too structured, it was always about you've got to do this and you've got to do that.
"But I found the last couple of years and the last couple of months I've worked myself out as a man, as a person and as a dad. I just really want to do well in those areas."
On Monday the Redfern red carpet, one of rugby league's least fashionable and finest because of it, was rolled out for Mitchell and his family.
How Latrell’s signing impacts Souths and other clubs
Every idle man, and a few dogs too, turned up for the January afternoon press conference. Greg Inglis and Cody Walker heckled from upstairs.
Mitchell's father Matt joined his son in a club polo, sat next to Wayne Bennett, and described the 22-year-old's shift across Anzac Parade as a "homecoming".
Bennett hailed it as "one of the biggest signings at the club since Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis".
Mitchell is feeling the love.
"I know the family side of it through Cody [Walker] and Jimmy [Roberts], just the way they talk about the club and Wayne and being under him, the way they treat their families is the biggest thing I looked at," he said.
"Everyone thinks I wanted to chase the money, which it wasn't. I just wanted to chase another opportunity where I could take my footy. This is the best decision I've made.
The best of Latrell Mitchell's time at the Roosters
"I thought coming out of the Roosters who gave me so much in my life and my career, to be able to transit from the country, to come down here and do what I've done, I can't find the words for the Roosters and bringing me down [from Taree as a 15-year-old].
"I really appreciate them and I'm grateful. I just want to chase something else now."
Whether the Roosters appreciate Mitchell's comments on life being "too structured" is another thing.
So too Wests Tigers, whose lucrative, multi-million dollar offer seemingly offered more of the same under Michael Maguire.
"I knew if I would’ve jumped straight into that Tigers deal I probably would’ve regretted it," Mitchell said.
"And I understand where the money was at, but it's not all about the money everyone made it out to be.
"There’s goals in my life that I want to set that money brings, but then again you’ve got to set that up.
"For the next 12 months I'm here I just want to keep striving for that and play some good footy.
"I didn’t want to rush anything, I didn’t want to rush a decision I’d regret."
Latrell Mitchell joins South Sydney Rabbitohs
Bennett's greatest attribute as a coach is his ability to adapt to each individual player.
Cuddles, warm and fuzzies, rev-ups and rockets – the Supercoach is a man for all seasons.
But while Bennett, just like Trent Robinson, can be counted on for a deft touch, the hammer will never be too far away either.
Mitchell's signing puts a stop to the contract speculation, but not the eyeballs on his every move.
A transition to fullback is already keenly anticipated, so too Mitchell's skin fold readings after the "longest holiday he's ever had".
After a few minutes talking base line fitness and aerobic capacity, Souths football manager Shane Richardson interrupted to point out that Mitchell's post-season Kangaroos duties meant he is only a week behind his original training schedule.
Mitchell is all too aware of the fierce focus that comes his way, and expects it to be amplified in red and green.
A few days after torching the Tigers on that memorable Saturday night at the SCG, rumours of a Rabbitohs shift were put to Mitchell.
He dismissed them, understandably uncomfortable as he has always been with any suggestion of succeeding Inglis.
Maybe not straight away, with a start at centre still on the cards for round one, but Mitchell is now in line to do exactly that.
Wear the red and green No.1 that was the single biggest driver in the club's drought breaking 2014 premiership.
"Me and Greg are different people," Mitchell said.
"The calibre of footy he's played, he's proved it. That's what I'm here to do, I'm here to prove myself. Greg's left a great legacy. That's all I'm here to do.
"I'm not in the shadow of anyone. I know Greg, we've always had yarns. We're similar people, players, I get that. But I'm here to do what's right for me."
Redfern, Wayne and the Rabbitohs look to be the right fit for Mitchell.
The love is certainly there. In due time, plenty of pressure too.