Ben Barba appears lost to the NRL after he reportedly accepted a multi-million dollar two-and-a-half year deal to join French rugby club Toulon.
The Cronulla premiership winner has come to terms for a two-and-a-half year deal worth just over a million dollars a year, News Corp reported.
The former Dally M medal winner could now turn out for Toulon as early as next weekend's Global Tens tournament in Brisbane.
Toulon shocked the NRL world earlier this week by trumpeting Barba's signature until midway through 2017.
Barba had hoped to return to the Sharks by the time his 12-game ban for a second positive illicit drugs test expired, however the governing body moved quickly to shut down his plans.
The NRL's strong stance led Barba to question whether to back-track, prompting Toulon to table a longer term deal.
Yesterday NRL boss Todd Greenberg declared Barba's suspension wouldn't start until any overseas playing commitments were completed, virtually ruling Barba out of a return this year.
The developments come after the NRL had recently granted the former Dally M medallist permission to train at the club and participate in community programs.
Barba was a key component in the Sharks' maiden premiership win last year, but his manager Gavin Orr admits his 27-year-old client may have made his final appearance in the NRL.
"I dare say he will play in this Tens tournament," Orr told News Corp Australia.
"Ben can either look back at his mistakes or he can look forward and try to be an inspiration for his kids. Rugby has been on Ben's radar before. At one stage he looked at being part of the Australian Sevens team for the Rio Olympics.
"Even before he joined the Sharks, he talked about challenging himself in rugby. Maybe things happen for a reason, but this is something he wants to pursue."