England winger Ben Cohen has left Northampton after buying out the remaining year of his contract.
Cohen has been at Northampton since he was 17
The 2003 World Cup winner refused to play for the Saints after being overlooked for the captaincy and has not attended training since mid-August.
"My career at the Saints has been very special. I have many friends at the club and it will always have a special place in my heart," insisted Cohen.
In May he withdrew from England's World Cup training squad for family reasons.
Cohen made the decision because he wanted to spend more time with his wife Abby, who is expecting twins.
He added: "I am grateful to the Saints for the opportunities they have given me."
The 6ft 4in player made his Northampton debut in 1996 and was a part of the side that won the Heineken Cup in 2000.
Cohen wanted to captain the Saints in their push for an immediate return to the top flight.
However, new director of rugby Jim Mallinder appointed New Zealand full-back Bruce Reihana as skipper, prompting Cohen to tell the club that he wanted to leave.
"We have reached a position that we feel is in the interests of both the club and the player," said Northampton chief executive Allan Robson.
"Ben has made a payment honouring the remainder of his contract and we are parting on the best of terms."