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Giving in to his will
SAN JOSE, Ca. — Glen Coffee, the backup running back who shocked the 49ers last week by retiring at age 23, said he is leaving football for a higher calling.
In an interview with the Mobile (Ala.) Press Register, the former University of Alabama standout said, “True happiness is glorifying God and glorifying Christ. That’s what true happiness is. … And for me, that wasn’t the NFL. That wasn’t where I needed to be.”
Coffee was competing for the No. 2 job behind Frank Gore before skipping an afternoon practice Thursday without explanation. He returned Friday morning to tell coach Mike Singletary that he was leaving the team.
Singletary said he respected the decision and did not attempt to change Coffee’s mind.
Singletary did not elaborate on his conversation with Coffee, but the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native told the Press Register that it was a matter of choosing faith over football.
“It’s giving in to his will, man. I feel like I was wasting the organization’s time, as far as the Niners. I was wasting my time,” Coffee said. “I should have never entered the league, and I’m sorry I had to do it in the middle of camp and leave my teammates like that. But it was something that I felt like I needed to do.”
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, the second-year running back quashed speculation that Singletary’s demanding training camp played any role in his decision.
“Yesterday I was reading on the Internet, and some reporter said I made the decision because I got blown up in a blocking drill. Come on, man! Give me more credit than that!” Coffee told the Bee. “But I’ve got to expect that when I do something so unexpectedly.
“No, there were no personal issues.
But I really am sorry that I put the 49ers in this situation. I should have handled it a lot differently.”
Coffee told both papers that he plans on returning to the University of Alabama to finish his degree in consumer affairs, with an eye toward graduate school.
The 49ers could move to recoup $621,000 of Coffee’s $828,000 signing bonus. But Coffee said that there’s no chance he will return to football.
“I’ve already told Christ it’s time to go,” he said. “I’ve already rung the bell. That’s not going to happen.”