What We Should Learn from Coffee’s Surprise Retirement

Special to 49ers Gab from Colts Gab Editor Josh Dhani

Glen Coffee was having it all good for him. He had a successful career with the Alabama Crimson Tide back in college, serving as their primary running back.

He would then get drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, where he could create a nice one-two punch with Frank Gore, if that is possible maybe in a few seasons.

But Coffee had a bright future ahead of him. Coffee played decent in his rookie season, rushing for 226 yards and one touchdown. The 2.7 yards per carry shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it would seem his sophomore season would have to be a lot more successful.

As training camp began, defensive end and first-round bust from the NFL Draft a few years ago, Kentwan Balmer, was dismissed from the team after not reporting to practice for five straight days. Balmer was released and may retire. That is when Coffee joined, who unexpectedly retired and left the 49ers.

“We just respond to this and move forward,” coach Mike Singletary said. “We’re dealing with this in stride and continuing to have our best practice. The thing that we’re trying to do as the 49ers is that we’re trying to find 53 men that love the game of football.”

Coffee only played in the National Football League for one season and could have had a bright future there.

“I feel it is best for me that I move on from football,” he said.

Coffee was battling for the back-up spot against sixth-round pick, Anthony Dixon. Coach Mike Singletary said that he was doing fine in camp and was working well and there was nothing wrong with him. He didn’t report to practice on Thursday and informed Singletary of his decision on Friday.


“I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions,” Singletary said. “He said his heart isn’t in it. It’s his decision. He is a man, and the last thing that I’m going to do is disrespect him and try to drag something out.”

With Coffee’s retirement, the Niners are left with Michael Robinson, Gore, and Dixon.

“We had no indication this was coming,” Robinson said. “Glen’s a good friend and it’s like I’m losing a brother. With Glen not being here, there is a void. But I’ve been here five years and I’ve seen backs come in and I’ve seen backs leave. We all have to elevate our games now.”

Dixon now doesn’t have as much pressure put on him anymore to compete for the back-up spot.

“This puts no more pressure on me than there already was,” Dixon said. “I knew they were going to call on me, and now it’s time to step up. This is what I’ve been waiting for, and I’m definitely out to show some people what I’m capable of.”

There is a lot for football fans to learn out of this situation. Many people think Coffee is stupid for making this decision since all things are going swell for him. But in today’s society, people assume a lot of things. Coffee shows that you can be good at something, but you are not all interested in it. Coffee sets an example for a lot of athletes out there. For those who are not fully into the game, then don’t try to make a career out of it.

Coffee is going to find a new job very soon and could maybe return to the game of football soon if he wanted to. This situation was similar to Indianapolis Colts’ defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock back in the 2007 season. After that year, Pitcock decided to call it a career. Now he is back trying out for the Seattle Seahawks currently. If there’s no success there, he could move on to play in a different league; most probably the United Football League.

Most of time, sports is not the path to success. And Glen knows that. He says he has higher opportunities ahead of him. Remember Heath Schuler? Everyone remembers him as a bust in the sports world when he was a quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Now he is successful out of the sports world and into politics, serving as a congressmen and working with the White House and the government.

When you really look at it, you shouldn’t be really that crazed of Coffee retiring. I was surprised at first and was crazy about it, I must admit, but sometimes sports isn’t always the answer for some. Coffee has other things to look at than football. Sure, he had success out of it, but if he is not fully into it and if he just doesn’t want to play anymore, then you should respect that. It’s his decision.

He has chances of being successful elsewhere, like everyone else out there in the world.

Because when it all goes down, sports fans, sports can’t always be the answer. And sometimes, you can’t make sports your life. Think about other things sometimes. It can also help you.

Just ask Glen Coffee.

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