Ulster and Ireland centre Darren Cave considering retirement at the end of the season
Ulster and Ireland centre Darren Cave says there are "decisions to be made" over his future.
The 31-year-old signed a one-year contract extension last April ensuring he would remain at Ulster until at least summer 2019.
"Over the last few months I have started to look away from rugby slightly for the first time," he admitted.
"It is something that I'll have to make a decision on in the next month or so."
The centre, who has 11 caps and was a member of Ireland's 2015 World Cup squad, is Ulster's second most capped player with 223 appearances, leaving him just six behind the province's all-time record appearance holder Andrew Trimble.
Cave made his senior provincial debut 12 years ago and last featured for Ireland in 2015.
"Probably for the first time in my career I have started to look at options away from rugby," he said.
"I always thought when I was younger that I would play until I was 35."
At the end of last season Ulster lost a number of their most experienced players including Trimble, Tommy Bowe and Paul Marshall.
It is also likely that the province will lose the services of skipper Rory Best who last month said that he expects to retire after this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.
"All good things come to an end and there is part of me that thinks that I might want to do it on my terms as well.
"Right now I just want to focus on the rugby because if I do retire at the end of the year then I want it to be on a high."
Ulster currently occupy the final play-off place in Pro14 conference B and will host Southern King on Saturday.
That will be a followed a week later with a trip to Dublin to take on reigning European Champions Cup holders Leinster in the quarter-finals of this year's competition.