St Kilda star has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season.
The three time All-Australian will depart the struggling Saints at the seasons end after playing nearly 300 games for the club he was drafted by with pick 11 in the 1998 AFL draft.
He becomes the latest AFL stalwart to retire after the recent decision by Brisbane Lions hero Jonathan Brown.
A universally respected player and man, Hayes will retire having never won the games greatest honour, but coming agonisingly close, losing the 2009 and 2010 Grand Finals to Collingwood and Geelong respectively.
Hayes was the winner of the Norm Smith medal for the game's best player in the 2010 Grand Final, which was drawn with Collingwood before losing the replay.
Tributes have been flooding in from fans and fellow players via social media, with the three times best and fairest winner making the announcement on Tuesday.