Last Friday after a game of disk golf I was getting drinks at Underdog’s in San Francisco with a friend who told me that Glen Coffee had retired. My initial reaction was disbelieve and I asked, ‘Are you sure it was Coffee that retired? You must have confused Coffee with another 49er player.’ And the questions went on and all the answers were Coffee did indeed retire.
Later that night with a hint of fuzziness in my head I went online and saw the headline: Glen Coffee Abruptly Retires. I was confused as to why, in the middle of training camp, did Coffee decide that football was no longer the number one focus in his life. With the way he played as a backup last season, 83 attempts for 226 yards and one touchdown in 14 games with two starts, I knew the 49ers were not losing a key factor in their offense, however, he was developing into a good running back I thought could eventually replace Frank Gore down the road. Then I started thinking who is going to be the backup for Gore, rookie Anthony Dixon? The 49ers quickly signed Brian Westbrook which was the best they could do so deep into training camp.
Coffee has come out and said his main reason for retiring was that football was no longer his dream. His focus now he says is God and his Christian faith. Coffee said football has not been the number one focus in his life since he became a born-again Christian in college. I can respect that. But if you knew back in college that football was not the focus of your life and God was, then why did you leave college early after your junior year to join the NFL? The 49ers wasted a three-round draft pick on Coffee thinking he was committed to playing long-term in the NFL. Coffee will go back to college finish to his undergraduate degree as the 49ers move on without him. I wish Coffee’s timing was better, like maybe retire after last season so the 49ers could have found an adequate backup. Thankfully, Westbrook had not signed with another team allowing the Niners to fill the roster spot with a veteran.
If anything this explains Coffee’s lackluster play in his two starts in replace of an injured Gore last season. At the time I thought it was going to be Coffee’s time to shine, but I was left wondering why he didn’t play well. Now we have the answer.