(Photo: AP Photo / Marcio Sanchez, File)
NFL running back Glen Coffee has decided to end his professional football career after having played only one season.
And the decision wasn’t the result of an injury, an arrest, or any sort of scandal.
It was because of his faith.
“I found Christ in college. It changed my views on everything,” Coffee, 23, told a reporter with the Sacramento Bee the morning after announcing his decision. “But I still was a football player because it was expected of me, it was something I did all my life.”
Though Coffee was advised not to speak with the media, he decided to do so Saturday, feeling that the reasoning behind his decision needed to be known - especially amid speculation.
"His (Christ’s) will, I felt, wasn't football,” he explained simply. And though Coffee believes that everything – including football – should be done to glorify Christ, the running back said Christ had told him “a long time ago to walk away from the game.”
"It's giving in to his will, man,” he told the Press Register.
Selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Coffee had been competing for the No. 2 spot behind Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore before announcing suddenly on Friday his decision to retire.
Before joining the 49ers, Coffee was a starter for the University of Alabama and was named to the Associated Press All-SEC first team.
After the 2008 season, Coffee decided to forgo his senior year and declared himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.
Now, with his latest announcement, Coffee says he’s going to return to the University of Alabama to get an undergraduate degree in consumer affairs. He also plans to get a master's as well.
"It's simple. I'm going back to school," told the reporter from the Bee.
Mike Singletary, head coach of the 49ers, said Friday that he respected Coffee’s decision and did not try to convince him to stay.
“I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions,” said Singletary, who is himself a man of faith.
Coffee’s announcement was made just days before the 49ers' first preseason game of the year and less than a month before the regular season was set to begin.
Singletary suggested Friday that running back Anthony Dixon was most likely to fill in Coffee's spot. Veteran Michael Robinson is also in the running.