At Peace With Leaving, Glen Coffee Still “Quit On” Teammates

August 18, 2010 – 7:30 am by Paul Bessire

Glen Coffee is free to do what he wants. And while many people would love to have the opportunity to play football for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in front of millions of fans and viewers, Coffee, the 23 year-old now former San Francisco 49er running back who played just one season with the team before retiring, is not interested in any of that. So be it.

There are many reasons why we make the decisions we make and they are not always easy to justify. It’s refreshing to see someone truly follow his passion. Having left a job coveted by many within the last year to pursue other passions of my own, I completely understand. It may not be the most well-received position or the easiest transition to what he wants, but it is clearly what he wants (and it isn’t harmful to anyone else or him). And that is all we should ever want for him.

Former San Francisco 49ers running back Glen Coffee, who retired at the age of 23 to focus on his ministry, joined the Roundtable on WJOX to discuss about why he made the decision to give up the game, quitting on his teammates, the reactions of his friends and family, going back to school to get his degree and the possibility of a comeback to football in the future.

On why he ultimately made the decision:

“Actually, the thought entered my head when I was playing at ‘Bama. I had found Christ my junior year at ‘Bama. When I found Him, football was no longer my dream. It was just that I wanted to glorify Him in everything that I did. I left college early because I was done with football. I figured, ‘Maybe if I’m getting paid for it, I’ll be able to tolerate it.’ I knew at the time that money couldn’t buy happiness. Only true happiness comes through Christ. I still chanced it and entered the league. Obviously, that was the wrong choice. I never should have entered the draft I felt like. It’s definitely been something that I’ve prayed about and thought about for a long time… I felt like it was eventually going to happen. Maybe not this early, but I knew my career would be short.”

On the toughest part about leaving football:

“Leaving my teammates. Let’s call it what it is, I did quit on them. That’s the thing that hurts. I don’t have regrets. If I say the toughest thing would be leaving my teammates.”

On how he told his family and friends and how they reacted:

“It wasn’t tough at all. I had peace man. I had total peace. Money comes and goes. The money that I did have from the NFL came through Him anyways. If he was telling me to leave, I know he’s got me. I’m not worried about the money at all. My family, it was mixed feelings. I think they were more worried about why I did because, when I did make the decision, I didn’t consult with anybody. It was totally between me and Jesus. It was mixed reviews, mixed feelings. I think in the end, they understand where my heart is. As long as I’m doing OK, I think my family is fine with it.”

On if the platform of the NFL would have been a place to spread the word:

“When I was in the league, my heart was always in turmoil. And when my heart is in turmoil, I can’t account for anyone else. I can’t do what I want to do as far as spreading the gospel and ministry if my heart is not in peace. I really felt like for me to do what I need to do and for me to answer my calling, I needed to be outside of football. If you’re not at peace yourself, it’s hard to minister to others.”

On the immediate next step for him:

“I’m going to enroll back in school. I left after my junior year and had two classes left so I’m going to go finish those. And then, I don’t know man. I’ve been considering full-time ministry. I feel that that’s something that’s got to come to you. It’s not something that you can plan out like, ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that.’  Right now, I’m going to let it come to me. I’m going to go to school, finish that out and maybe go for my masters, into the master’s program. But for right now man, it’s the two classes I’m going to get out the way. Whatever else happens, He’ll show me the way. As far as the ministry, I’m going to do a couple speaking events, speaking engagements because I feel like I’ve got to let it be known.”

And on if he may ever make a comeback:

“There’s no turning back now. There is no turning back. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of people out there who need to be saved, who need to get to Heaven. It’s going to be a tough task. I think the football is done for me.”

Listen to Glen Coffee Glen Coffee on WJOX in Birmingham with the Roundtable.

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  1. 24 Responses to “At Peace With Leaving, Glen Coffee Still “Quit On” Teammates”

  2. Bet god didn’t tell him to give the money back.

    By Ron Sebastian on Aug 18, 2010

  3. I totally understand where he is coming from. I did the same thing leaving my career to go and serve Christ and minister.

    There are many out there who have not a clue where they are heading. Knowing this it is hard to have peace in anything else.

    What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loses his soul.

    By dwayne on Aug 18, 2010

  4. I believe it’s up to the indivdual the discipline and hard work just to get to that level are mind blowing.I’d rather he quit than end up in”crack-alley”.Or going out killing 8people because of his depressive state.That’s why we have a first ammendement and I wish him well in whatever his future goals are.It’s his life not ours I can have empathy for him because he is a human being.

    By Spencer on Aug 18, 2010

  5. Great stuff I love football and Christ but you will always find me a church on sunday because He is more important. Giving the money back is not nessesary because he was given his talents through Christ.

    By tim on Aug 18, 2010

  6. “Bet God didnt tell him to give the money back”

    What kind of comment was that. He was only paid for the time he was there, smartguy. NFL players get weekly checks too. You dont play you ont get paid. Use your brain next comment

    By Erik on Aug 18, 2010

  7. Amen Amen Amen

    By marvin on Aug 18, 2010

  8. People find it strange for someone so young to have a job in the NFL making millons of dollars and just walk away from it all. A few years ago a young man from Mississippi Valley State University did the same thing. He walked away from a career in the NBA with the Lakers to become a minister. GOD BLESS you GLEN. By the way, that young man’s name was Marcus Mann.

    Go 9ers…

    By Edgar Brown on Aug 18, 2010

  9. wrong choice

    By Satan on Aug 18, 2010

  10. I’m sorry, I don’t understand some of this logic. The article / interview says he’s leaving the NFL to pursue his ministry, but Coffee goes on to say that he doesn’t really know what he wants to do. Is he going to be a minister? Is he going to be a missionary? Is this a side project for him while he’s in school? He sounds more like a confused 23 year-old than like the second coming of Reggie White.

    By Tommy on Aug 18, 2010

  11. Actually NFL players that sign a contract get a signing bonus that is not earned by playing. Coffee himself said ” thought it would be ok cause I WAS GETTING PAID”. Yep sounds just like he was thinking about god!!!

    By mike Jack on Aug 18, 2010

  12. In response to Satan: When Glen says that he doesn’t know what he wants to do after he graduates it’s just that he is demonstrating his faith. He is waiting on the Lord to tell him the next step. He is obeying Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” I find his attitude very refreshing in this era of self-centered athletes.

    By Bob Marshall on Aug 18, 2010

  13. If God is leading him away from football, then I fully support him. I think too many people have the notion in their head that the only way to serve Christ is behind a pulpit or in deepest darkest Africa. The only problem is that if everyone is a pastor, who do they preach to? I think Christians can serve Christ in the NFL. Cris Carter, Kurt Warner, Reggie White all had solid careers and were good ambassadors for Jesus.

    By Dan on Aug 18, 2010

  14. Wow. That is witnessing. In this day and age, to be so bold and open about your faith, and to act on it in such a clear way, that is inspiring. Jesus is life.

    By Pat on Aug 19, 2010

  15. Besides of course studying the Bible and what it has to say about it (1 Tim 3, etc), I recommend Ed Clowney’s book “Called to the Ministry” to anyone considering such things.

    By bobw on Aug 19, 2010

  16. There’s no such thing as god or jesus. If god is leading him away from football why did he lead him to it in the first place?!
    Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against people who believe…its your choice just like its my choice not to believe in it. And I’m not going to try and convince anyone they’re wrong, it just makes no sense to me.

    By Patrick on Aug 19, 2010

  17. Man, you people act like this man owes you something. Coffee owes all of you nothing. God gave this man his ability, and as he stated, he found Christ in his college years and Knew he had a calling and then some time later decided to follow it. If anything he is doing what he is supposed to do, In Gods plan of things. As a current Minister, I feel sorry for those who think that money is the way to happiness, The Bible says the Love of Money is the root of evil. It is clear that this man loves God more than Money. Bravo Coffee!!!! Go forth and spread the word in these last and evil days. Your crown will be heavy with the souls you lead to Christ with your story.

    Rev Smith

    By Rev. J. Allen on Aug 19, 2010

  18. Well as a Niners fan, I’m a bit upset with the loss of the pick, but things happen.

    In response to Tim – you don’t need to be in church every Sunday. That is just a venue. You could praise Him through other means.

    That said, I am no religious person, although I did go for many years earlier in my life.

    Why do certain people need to board the “Jesus train” and try to get at everyone who makes a statement? We get that you are into God….and everyone is entitled to an opinion. But cut out the stories. Make your point and move on

    By SanFranYoungFan08 on Aug 19, 2010

  19. Patrick – you’re not trying to convince anyone that they’re wrong?

    That is exactly what you’re trying to do.

    By Fisher on Aug 19, 2010

  20. As a lifelong 9ers fan, I am sorry to see Coffee leave, he has a God given talent on the field and off. I am very pleased to hear of him going back to school Lord only knows how many players left to early because of the pursuit for money, and all of us know money isn’t everything. As far as his ministry, he is searching for what God wants in his life and if football is in the way so be it. I am very thankful for Glen and his courage to leave football and to follow Gods will for his life. Way to go Glen, way to go. My prayers are with you. (beware Satan Glenn is here to stay)

    By Billy Trimble on Aug 22, 2010

  21. Awesome,Awesome, Awesome. There are so many who have passed on who made millions. Where are their millions now? Someone else reaping the benefits… On that great day if he continues to put God first his name will be announced, welcome, good and faithful servant….God bless…..

    By Laye on Aug 23, 2010

  22. ah, i see….censorship, eh. Not allowed to have different opinions on your site?

    May God Be With You.
    peace
    box

    By boxcar on Oct 29, 2010

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  2. Aug 18, 2010: 49ers Glen Coffee “quit on” San Francisco teammates | Niners Central
  3. Aug 18, 2010: Football Fan Site » Conflicted Coffee tried to ‘tolerate’ football
  4. Dec 3, 2010: "When I Found Him, Football Was No Longer My Dream" « Already But Not Yet

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