Source: Sports Illustrated

On Friday, JBL made an announcement that he would be leaving his weekly post on SmackDown to dedicate more time to at-risk youth and communities in Bermuda. He will continue his relationship with WWE by appearing on marquee events, such as Tribute to the Troops and WrestleMania.

According to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, this was planned out far in advance, even before the bullying accusations with Mauro Ranallo came to light. The decision to leave started 11 months ago, when his contract expired last October. At that point, he put in his notice with the company.

Barrasso noted despite pressure from some Board of Directors, Vince McMahon refuse to fire JBL during Ranallo's exit, expecting the story to eventually die down. While JBL was never punished for any of his alleged actions related to the bullying story, WWE was able to work things out with Ranallo, bringing him back into the fold in June as the Lead NXT Announcer.

Another reason for JBL's departure was the travel. Despite WWE wanting to bring him in on the Sunday before SmackDown, JBL began changing his travel day to Tuesday, so he would arrive just in time for his duties related to commentating. He was able to do this for two months before being confronted about it. Showing signs of simply being burned out from the travel it was again noted JBL's exit was his own decision.

Follow Joshua Gagnon on Twitter at @HeelDoors. Got a news tip or correction? Send it to us by clicking here.