When Bristol Bears came calling with an offer to end Rory Best's retirement before it had ever really begun, the subject was soon broached with eldest son Ben.
It wasn't so long ago that the nine-year-old was touting his father's prospects for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2021, even when the then-Ireland skipper reminded the young rugby nut that as a pre-teen he was the one closer to the average age of a pro rugby player.
If anyone was to be keen to see the show go on, it was presumed Ben would be the one.
"I'm just ready to have dad at home," came the surprise response.
During the final months of 2019, Ben could never have known just how much being at home that would entail.
Having spent the past 15 years as an Irish international, Best has been all over the globe through rugby, lengthy Six Nations camps each winter and far flung tours each summer as much an annual part of the family's calendar as Christmas or the start of the school year.
The past 12 weeks of Covid-19 lockdown is the longest the 37-year-old has been in one place during his adult life.
Being the third brother in a family, sometimes you need to have a chip on your shoulder just to have your voice heard and I think I allowed that chip to get a bit bigger because I realised it did me no harm.
And while family time has been a real highlight, whether that's meant rugby in the garden, cooking in the kitchen or a picnic on the farm, it's been a period of seismic adjustment too.
Best was such a huge part of Ulster Rugby for more than a decade and carried such influence that you sometimes wondered how it would look when he was gone. It was easy to forget, of course, that Ulster Rugby was a huge part of him too. The long-time skipper was to be facing into a 'new normal' long before the phrase ever entered everyday use.
"I was doing a few webinars last week and you get introduced as 'Rory Best, the former Ulster player'. That still sounds strange," he said.
"A piece of advice I was given when I retired was that the sooner you can get over the fact that you're not 'Rory Best the rugby player' anymore, that you're 'Rory Best, whatever it is, whatever it is you want it to be', the better you'll adjust.
"But for me, I'm not a rugby player anymore and I don't have a full-time job so I'm not anything else yet either."
And it's here that the curveball of lockdown takes hold. After touring with the Barbarians following Ireland's World Cup exit in Japan last October, there was a brief break before throwing himself into what was to be a big part of his post-playing days.
There were TV gigs and some commercial link-ups, while he'd been chosen to deliver a few talks on leadership too. But when the world retreated en masse behind its own doors, such work disappeared overnight. While the family farm has kept him busy, especially of late with a big sale coming up at the end of the month, an uncertainty lingers.
"It's very strange," he admitted. "Retiring from rugby having played for so long, that was always going to be strange enough and it took a bit of time to adapt to that. I was very busy at the turn of the year and I was at the stage of getting back a bit of structure, then this happened.
"At the very start, when you take away the global sense of things and the fear around that, on a strictly personal level trying to take the positives, it was great to spend time with the family.
"Now, the longer it goes on, it's made the transition out of rugby very strange. It's probably been very different to how I'd imagined it and harder than maybe it could have been.
"There's always an uncertainty to it anyway but then the uncertainty of lockdown, and just how all of those things regarding employment are going to look like afterwards."
Just before the world changed quite so dramatically, Best released his autobiography, co-written with former Belfast Telegraph rugby correspondent Gavin Mairs. While his opinion on Ireland's most recent World Cup failure and an account of his appearance at the trial of former team-mates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were always likely to be the headline-grabbing sections, provided throughout is a more revealing portrait of Best the man.
The insight into the doubt that littered his career from Ireland Schools' level all the way through to captaining Ireland to victory over the All Blacks offers a different side to a man so historically decorated.
When adding in latter years the scrutiny of being skipper and the other side of 35, it's a peek behind an exhausting curtain. Does dealing with it all season after season mean retirement has brought with it something akin to relief?
"It's funny because in a way it does," he said.
"Being the third brother in a family, sometimes you need to have a chip on your shoulder just to have your voice heard and I think I allowed that chip to get a bit bigger because I realised it did me no harm.
"You almost use that as a steel for yourself, even if it's you saying to someone, 'I'm going to prove you wrong' and they'd probably be saying, 'What are you talking about? I've no issues with you at all'.
"But from 2018 onwards, it felt like there was a constant heat on me. That can consume you, it can drag you into a spiral and there were times when I was Ireland captain that I nearly allowed it to.
"Even watching the Six Nations this year summed it up. The Wales game, being at the Aviva, you were watching that, especially in the second half, and thinking that's just the kind of game you'd love to be involved in. You'd love to be in the changing room afterwards, love to be on the bus back to The Shelbourne and having a few beers. There's nowhere else you'd rather be.
"Then you're in Twickenham, and you'd have loved to be able to help even if you know you'd have made no difference, but at the same time, once that final whistle goes, you're glad it's not your face that's going to be on the front page of all the papers, that you won't be hearing, 'He's done'.
"That's why I wanted to write the book. I didn't want a massive string of controversies or to turn my back on Ulster just to sell copies. The purpose was to give something that my kids could have as a keepsake.
"It's nice to have all the jerseys and memorabilia, but they're just moments. I didn't want my kids, or grandkids if we have them, to just see the jersey you wore against the All Blacks, or a Six Nations medal, or the 100th cap and just assume life was brilliant all the time, I wanted them to know it was a balance."
The sacrifice is still felt keenly in the body. As a string of early contemporaries retired, Best never had to look far for reminders that his playing career was running out of road. Today, there's plenty stretching out ahead. An old rugby player remains a young man, even if he doesn't feel it.
"There are some habits you can't get out of and one of them is saying that I feel old," he said. "For 15 years, probably longer, I've had it drilled into me that 30 is the turning point.
"At the start of my career I'd have looked at someone near 38 as being as old as the hills. Then you get out of rugby and remember that's not how the general populace views you.
"I don't know if it was sheer bloody mindedness or because I hadn't stopped, but almost overnight after I retired there was a switch in the body, like it had been dragging me through the last seasons and all of a sudden I felt every year."
Pre-season is, hopefully, a few weeks away. For the first time in almost two decades he won't have to put his body through it. That's one thing Rory Best the rugby player is welcome to keep.