Glen Coffee, the 49ers’ 2009 third-round draft pick who retired at age 23 after one season in the NFL, has a simple explanation for why he doesn’t ever see himself returning: He doesn’t want his life to be ruined.
Coffee told the Sacramento Bee that’s what he thinks the NFL does to players.
“As far as the NFL goes, I have a hard time putting it like this because it sounds kind of harsh, but I feel like it ruins a lot of lives more than anything else,” Coffee said. “And that goes for people who have short careers in the NFL and long careers in the NFL. Because what happens is they see that as success.”
Coffee says it bothers him that so many people have a hard time accepting that he’d walk away from the potential to make millions of dollars playing football.
“People just keep asking me that, and it’s like, ‘OK, why are you asking me that?’ And their No. 1 reason – their only reason – is money,” Coffee said. “It saddens me, man. If your only focus is money, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. A lot of people, they chase money. And when they get the money, they think, ‘OK, what now? There’s got to be more than what I’m feeling now.’”
Coffee is currently working on getting his degree from Alabama and is considering a career in ministry.
“I want to love what I do,” Coffee said. “I don’t just want to get paid.”