But O'Driscoll has handed club and country a longer term boost by agreeing a one-year extension to his contract with the IRFU.
The triple Heineken Cup winner - one of just six players to score more than 25 tournament tries - made his senior Ireland and Leinster debuts in 1999 and has since gone on to appear 125 times for Ireland and 172 times for Leinster, scoring 46 international and 59 Leinster tries.
"I want to thank the IRFU and Leinster for allowing me the time to think about my future and discuss my options with my family," said O'Driscoll, whose Heineken Cup record stands at 32 tries in 82 appearances.
"The support my family and the Irish and Leinster fans have shown me over the past few months, and indeed years, has been phenomenal and I am now very much looking forward to one more year playing with Ireland and Leinster."
Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt - who will take over the top national coaching job - added: "It's great that Brian has agreed to continue playing.
"He's an inspirational player, not only on the pitch, but also on the training ground. He's played well again this season and other players continue to learn from him. I know that every squad of which he is a part will profit from his qualities both as a rugby player and a person."
Announcing the contract extension IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne declared: "The IRFU is delighted that Brian has chosen to sign a new contract, ensuring he remains available to Ireland and Leinster for one more year.
"Brian is a truly exceptional talent and there is no doubt that this new contract will boost our game, at every level, in the coming year. We wish him, his Leinster and indeed his Lions team-mates all the very best in their forthcoming games and look forward to working with Brian in the 2013/14 season."