Graham Kavanagh turned down two Championship clubs and League One leaders Leicester to become player-coach at Carlisle.
The former Republic of Ireland midfielder, 35, signed an 18-month deal at Brunton Park late last week after a successful loan spell from Sunderland.
Kavanagh told the News & Star: "To get this opportunity and still be able to play was the key. A couple of clubs in the Championship were interested and a couple in League One, including Leicester.
"But I felt loyal to Carlisle. They took a chance on me when they did and it was a chance to get on the coaching ladder."
Meanwhile, Carlisle left-back Daren Campion, 21, has had his contract terminated at Brunton Park by mutual consent.