At the age of 38, the veteran Bradford Bulls scrum-half officially retired on Sunday, taking medical advice following a serious hip injury.
He does so having amassed 3,987 career points – the fifth highest in British rugby league history – during a career that also saw him grace Dewsbury Rams, York City Knights, Hull FC, Castleford Tigers, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield Giants.
A Man of Steel winner, who captained Scotland and earned 24 caps, the enigmatic Yorkshireman will be remembered as one of the most skilful and, at times, dazzling players of the Super League era.
It was his kicking prowess, however, that was arguably Brough’s greatest strength and it should, then, perhaps be no surprise the 15-man code was once interested.
Brough has always insisted he has no regrets in his long and colourful career which started at hometown Dewsbury in 2002.
However, he jokingly refers to how his body “wouldn’t be in the state it’s in now” if the union offer had materialised.
“It was Edinburgh who phoned me up,” Brough told The Yorkshire Post.
“It was around 2010. I was just signing for Huddersfield from Wakefield and it was around that time when they got in contact.
“In fact, I think it was the week after I signed for Huddersfield that they came in.
“They said they’d give me the 10 jersey and basically, if I signed for Edinburgh, they’d get me in the Scotland set-up.
“I remember they were getting paid seven and a half grand per Test for Scotland then...
“But I’d already agreed a long-term deal at Huddersfield and they wouldn’t pay a fee to get me out of my contract.
“It would have been a bit easier playing union I reckon.
“But such is life. And I had a great time at Giants. And made a lot of good mates.”
Brough, of course, was Huddersfield captain when he led them to the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield – the first time the West Yorkshire club had finished top in 81 years.
It was that season that the playmaker claimed the game’s most prestigious individual honour –the Man of Steel – and he was at the height of his creative powers with Giants playing a brilliant brand of rugby league.
Nevertheless, Brough continued to be overlooked by England coach Steve McNamara who had asked him to switch allegiances but picked him only once against the Exiles in 2012 and eventually opted for Rangi Chase.
Brough returned to Scotland colours – his grandfather was Glaswegian – and starred for them in the 2013 World Cup.
That year, he was shortlisted for the Rugby League International Federation player of the year alongside Sonny Bill-Williams and Greg Inglis.
In 2016, Brough memorably helped Scotland earn an 18-18 Four Nations draw against holders New Zealand in Workington, the greatest feat of his international career.
Earlier, he had shot to prominence, kicking the winning goal when helping Hull stun Leeds Rhinos in the 2005 Challenge Cup final.
“I’ve had a couple of highlights,” he said, when asked to pick out a favourite moment of a career that passed 500 games with Wakefield two years ago.
“Winning the Challenge Cup final was a biggy – that was massive for me. But when I helped Castleford get back into Super League at Headingley (in 2007), that was a big one, to be fair; it was a great achievement.
“Looking back, if somebody had given me all this before I started, I’d have said ‘no way, that’ll never happen’.
“I have had a lot of good times throughout my career and there is nothing I can moan about.
“I’ve no regrets. I’ve loved it.”
Brough, who played almost 250 games for Huddersfield, joined Bradford ahead of this season but has been troubled by injuries.
He had signed a two-year deal but retired halfway through after accepting the advice of the specialists on a recurring hip issue.
Explaining the decision, Brough conceded: “Basically, I can’t put my own socks on.
“There’s no cartilage in my hip; it’s bone on bone and I can’t do anything. The surgeon says it’s one of the worst he’s seen. I’m in bad shape, to be honest, and I need a full hip replacement. I can hardly run but I know there’s others worse off than me and there’s only the odd few who get that perfect send-off.”
He is unsure what he will do next although coaching has always been something he is interested in and, with his rugby brain and vast knowledge on the sport, he has plenty to pass on.
“I could do with something as I am unemployed!” said Brough, whose son William is on scholarship forms at Trinity.
“I had a trade before I went full-time (at 22) but I’m going to try and go down different avenues to what I did before, to be honest.
“I’m going to miss being around the lads, most definitely. That’s what I’ll miss most; having a craic with the boys and being there for each other.”