Just as it seems he's winning the PR battle, John Terry shoots himself in the foot.
Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea has been a throwback for the Chelsea captain—playing his best football for a long while, avoiding controversy and even being mentioned as a potential member of Roy Hodgson's England squad for the 2014 World Cup, despite his international retirement.
All that good work could be cast aside very soon, though, if Terry doesn't wake up to reality.
A number of media outlets have reported the Englishman may be ready to leave Stamford Bridge this summer when his contract expires.
He's not in dispute with the club, yet, but as the Evening Standard's Simon Johnson reports, Terry is at odds with Chelsea's existing policy of only handing players over the age of 30 a one-year extension to their current deals.
Terry, it is believed, is looking for a three-year contract to take him up to his 36th birthday when he will probably hang up his boots.
It's a situation that can be understood from both sides, with Terry looking to protect his interests and Chelsea theirs.
Only it's the club who are right.
Chelsea made the decision long ago that any player, regardless of importance or stature, would be offered no more than an extra 12 months on his contract once past 30. It's a policy that may have caused some unrest at various times, but it's one they have honored.
Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have all faced up to that in recent years, and now it's Terry's time. He cannot expect preferential treatment.
There are those who will fall on the captain's side of the debate, citing his service to the club over the years, with the belief that he should be afforded the opportunity to finish his career in West London with one last bumper deal.
That rationale doesn't cut it, though. If players equally as important to Chelsea's success in the past decade can accept the club's contract policy, so too must Terry.
He has been a great servant, sure, but let's not fool ourselves here, either. Chelsea have been equally good to him.
For the best part of 10 years, Terry has been handsomely rewarded financially as a Chelsea player and has been supported throughout any number of controversies he has found himself in.
His position has never been questioned, nor has the subject of his captaincy been up for debate, despite losing the same privilege for England on two occasions.
Chelsea have been loyal to Terry, backing him to the hilt. Now he is at the stage of his career where he is weighing up the options of what his next move may be, he needs to remember that.
The bigger picture shows there is much more to Chelsea than John Terry. And should the Stamford Bridge power brokers renege on a policy that has served them well, where does that leave the club?
There's a reason one-year contracts are offered—players over 30 are simply less dependable than they were in their prime. Terry is no longer in his and he needs to accept it.
His career has come full circle. From being a youth-team player, his bargaining power was relatively limited. During his peak years, he had more sway to make demands, but now he needs the Blues more than they need him.
If he wants to remain a Chelsea player until 2016-17—when his desired three-year contract would end—it's his duty to show the club year-on-year that he is still capable of cutting it at the highest level. If he does that, he'll get his three years, albeit individually. Should he not, then he has no cause for complaint.
Terry has often spoken of his emotion for Chelsea, priding himself on being a one-club man in an era when the notion is dying out. Now's the time to reinforce that mantra.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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