Dawes, a premiership player with Collingwood in 2010, joined the Demons on a lucrative four-year deal at the end of the 2012 season.
However, he failed to live up to his lofty pay check, managing just 50 games in four seasons due to several injuries and form issues.
The 28-year-old was delisted by the Dees last month after a total of 130 goals in 121 AFL games.
“I was a bit embarrassed about how my career finished up,” he said on RSN Radio on Monday morning.
“If I look at how I was at the halfway mark, I thought I was going to become a much better player than what I ended up being.
“That is what happens. That is how all athletes feel. If you didn’t have those high expectations, you would never succeed in the first place.”
Dawes was keen to continue his AFL career, however, failed to find a new club amid little interest during the delisted free agency period.
“I didn’t picture this happening 12 months ago but it could be all over,” Dawes said of his final year.
“You go through a bit of a wave of emotions. Am I going to get another look in? Will someone else take me? Do I even want that?”
Dawes will lace up for Sorrento in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League in 2017.