THIS year, there was no official confirmation from either player or management that Alan Brogan would actually return to the Dublin squad for 2014.
We had, until February 4th, just informed rumour and unsubstantiated reports.
Then, on the same night as Eamonn Fitzmaurice found himself announcing Paul Galvin's retirement from inter-county football, Brogan just appeared at centre half-forward against Kerry in Dublin's opening 2014 League gambit.
He wore the number 17 shirt and thus his season began its cycle, concluding with that picture of a crestfallen Brogan holding his son, Jamie, after the All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Donegal.
Now, it looks as though we're in for something similar.
A winter load of gossip, hearsay and speculation until such time as Brogan either a) appears in the Dublin jersey or b) announces his inter-county retirement.
"I've had a couple of little chats with him but he's not giving much away," says little brother Bernard, either similarly in the dark or towing the party/family/Dublin line.
"He very much wants to make a decision with Lydia (Alan's wife) coming towards Christmas.
"It's not his legs that there's anything wrong with. It's just his family commitments and his work commitments."
Bernard's suggestion about his brother's ability to withstand another inter-county season appear, on most recent evidence, pretty accurate.
Brogan, who will turn 33 in January, started every one of Dublin's Championship matches in 2014.
He lasted (in a Laois to Donegal chronology); 50 minutes, 47 minutes, 50 minutes, 64 minutes and 53 minutes of medium-to-high intensity football matches.
Against St Vincent's in the recent Dublin county final, Alan was easily St Oliver Plunkett's/ER's best player and was still popping up all over the place right past the hour mark.
"As you saw in the county final," says Bernard, taking up the point, "his movement was as good as anyone on the pitch.
"There is definitely loads left in the legs and the mind and he still has a part to play for Dublin if he commits to it.
"And we're hoping. We all want our best team on the pitch. And whether that's Alan for half an hour, or starting, or coming on, or whatever Jim feels is the right thing. There is definitely 50, 60 minutes left in his legs in Croke Park.
"He did that this year and he kept going every day until the end in the county championship. He never lost ground with fitness or his legs.
"But if he takes any of our opinions on board, we want him to be there on the first weekend in June.
"But as I said, he has his own mind to make up," Brogan concludes. "But we'll be pushing him that direction."