Glen Coffee: NFL ruins a lot of lives

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.”

67 responses to “Glen Coffee: NFL ruins a lot of lives

  1. Mr Coffee, it sounds like your issue isn’t with the NFL at all. There are tons of jobs people do for the money. When an investment banker walks away from his job to do something not money related is it really any different? Or the dude that retires from any job, really, while there is still money on the table. I think your problem is with monetary gain, not the NFL.

  2. This is pretty much the “I quit!” Before the “you’re fired!” Nice try Mr. Coffee.

  3. Truely great football players have a passion for the game of football not making money, his passion is obvious in ministry.

  4. Yea, give back the $$$ you were giving from the 49ers then, see you when your broke.

  5. I have a problem with Mr. Coffee (not Joe D….I know I’m aging myself) on a number of levels.

    If the NFL ruins a lot of lives based on money and success,why about the young people who succeed early in their own business? What about young attorneys? Doctors? Actors? Singers? Are they too ruined because they achieved success out of college?

    What about the lives it doesn’t ruin? There are 1900 players in the NFL, we all agree a small percentage gets in trouble and unfortunately that’s the public perception of the league as a whole.

    What about the rest who use it as a tool to help others and use it a springboard to success later in life? Bradie James? DeSean Jackson? and Jason Smith, Frank Gore, Heath Evans, Warrick Dunn, Mark Murphy, Aaron Glenn etc….all have charities helping out the less fortunate or used it as a springboard for post NFL success. Notice I didn’t mention the big name superstars.

    What about the 57% who have managed school and athletics that came into the NFL with a degree? Unlike yourself, are the ruined?

    If he felt this way, I sure the 49ers would have apperciated him letting them know before they wasted a 3rd round pick on him. What probably happened he wants to play football, but couldn’t hack it at an elite level. I liken it to the military, its the difference between regular army (college football) and Navy Seal (elite). Only the elite make it to be a seal. Plenty try but few are chosen. Mr Coffee couldn’t cut the mustard, thats why he is playing semi-pro ball. Good Luck with his ministry and obtaining his degree.

  6. do what you want to do, but considering he was a longtime ballplayer, from kiddie school to college then the pros… and apparently wanted to make $ at some point…

    or was ok with it… when the road to dmascus conversion?

    of course people are in it to make money. some players cant make that much legally any other way.

  7. He has been saying for 3 years that he might go into the ministry. Why is he not in the ministry?

  8. The guy doesn’t have a problem with the NFL and getting money, the guy has a problem by getting chewed out by an NFL position coach. Kind of funny how one day after Tom Rathman chews his face off he decides he wants to be a minister. Obviously the guy has a passion for the game or he wouldn’t be playing semi-pro ball, but he doesn’t want to be a horrible NFL back, he wants to be the best semi-pro back.

  9. His decision to retire has nothing to do with his statement, it is purely that he has no love or even a decent amount of interest. He skated through college on talent and the relaxed atmosphere but when it came to the big leagues he realized he lacked the passion for it and moved on. It is admirable that he did such a thing as many people will do a lot of wrong for a few bucks.

  10. Those rabid fans that believe it is affront to them personally when someone believe playing professional football could destroy their lives needs to chill out. NFL football isn’t the utopia that they believe it is.

  11. The NFL does nothing, you want to play you pay. A person that decides they want to ride Bulls for a living goes in knowing the price they are going to pay. A Jockey the same, as the Horse goes down and they are trampled and left disabled for life. You go in knowing the benefits and the potential costs, no one holds a gun to your head.

    We live in a World of cry babies today. No one tells these guys to take money they earn that if invested and taken care of would last most a Lifetime but decides to piss it away on Bling that makes most look like a Fool let alone has sharpies picking their pockets.

    Man up, you know what you are getting into, if the potential costs are to high go into something else. But stop with the poor baby me because no one cares.

  12. Pursuing what you believe in and eschewing monetary gain is admirable, but there is no reason to bash the NFL. It provides highly regarded opportunites to hundreds of athletes. It’s up to them to use the opportunity wisely and to it’s fullest potential.

    I wish him luck.

  13. good for you but why did you go into the nfl in the first place? to enjoy what you do AND make enough to retire early? Isn’t that the objective?

  14. He is a huge cry-baby. I can’t believe this loser gets press. He was WEAK, and got beat out by the rookie. He STILL is trying to justify his lack of heart and ability. To use god and morality to turn his back on the 49ers is disingenious and disgusting. He will go to hell for his lying excuses.Give back the signing bonus, you hypocrite.

  15. Don’t want to get paid? You gonna live in a shoebox under a bridge somewhere? A thinking man would use his God-given talents to become a high-profile testament to the Word and use the money gained from those talents to live a modest life, spread the Word and help those that need it. ‘Fess up, you’re just lazy and don’t want to have to actually work for a living, isn’t that right?

  16. Hmmm, I wonder if Glen Coffee and Ricky Williams have been hanging out. The NFL doesn’t ruin lives, people ruin their own lives. I would venture a guess that more people in the lower income scale end up dead or in jail, than NFL or X-NFL players.

  17. canjura says:
    May 22, 2011 8:20 AM
    The guy doesn’t have a problem with the NFL and getting money, the guy has a problem by getting chewed out by an NFL position coach. Kind of funny how one day after Tom Rathman chews his face off he decides he wants to be a minister. Obviously the guy has a passion for the game or he wouldn’t be playing semi-pro ball, but he doesn’t want to be a horrible NFL back, he wants to be the best semi-pro back.
    You need to check your facts bud. Coffee is playing on the team as a safety/linebacker. Plus, I don’t think Coffee ever came out and said he lost his passion for the game. Check this quote out.
    “A lot of people think that because I quit, I don’t like football or I have something against it,” Coffee said. “It’s not like that. As a recreational sport, I still dig it. It’s just not what I wanted to do with my life.”

    Why does the man get chastised for not wanting to play in the NFL? In many cases, he’s right about the NFL ruining lives. Is it so wrong that he left millions on the table so that he could finish out his degree and then ultimately become a minister? I don’t think so, he’s obviously doing what he wants in life, and if he’s happy then who are we to judge?

  18. Danger, lack of passion for the game. He won’t last long, I’ve seen this before.

    I’m not hatin, I’m just sayin.

  19. This guy just doesn’t LOVE football, plain and simple. So good for you Mr. Java. Many players LOVE football and love to get paid to do something they love. Maybe you should thought of all this before a team had to go and waste a draft pick on your sorry ass.

  20. It is indeed admirable that Mr Coffee is not enamored of money.
    He does seem to have his priorities straightened out now.
    However, it is also a fact that he accepted a signing bonus to play football for the 49ers. While I do not know the reasons for his reluctance to return the money, he should at least indicate why – is it he spent the money already? Does he intend using it for underprivileged kids?
    He doesnt owe any of us an explanation, but since he is so ready to talk about the evils of money, the least he could do is explain what he did/intends to do with the signing bonus

  21. If the guy’s heart isn’t into the game, he probably shouldn’t be playing. How many guys are we (the collective we) critical of for just cashing the paycheck.

    And if he’s found something that’s he passionate about, more power to him — most people should be so lucky.

    But, just because it’s not his choice doesn’t mean that it’s wrong (or will ruin lives) for everyone else…

  22. What a total bitch……It’s a job, don’t like it, then move on, i’m sure the ironworkers who stradle an I-Beam’s 80 stories up care, or the coal miners, way down below the surface of the earth give a rats ass, no reason to belittle the men who make their money the best way they know how, go join the ministry and let the real men EARN their money…

  23. It’s greed and a love for money that has the owners and players fighting with each other, thus leaving us without football activities right now. When the season starts, we’re not going to have the same quality that we’ve had in previous years because teams are going to be poorly prepared to play.

    Blaming the NFL for players’ lives being ruined is a little short-sighted, though. People have to make choices as to what to do with their lives, and for those fortunate enough to have the talent and recognition to play in the NFL, the onus is on them to handle it properly. If they can’t, they’ll end up like countless others who couldn’t handle the money and ended up broke and owing thousands (or millions) for their poor decisions. The blame for that isn’t on the employer, but on the employee.

    For anybody that can get past the love of money and choose to do something that they personally feel they would enjoy doing more, more power to them. God Bless Glen Coffee for having the courage to do just that.

  24. If he doesn’t want to play and do something else, he doesn’t have to stoop to degrading the process for everyone else who has made a different decision. If I pick Coke, I don’t have to say drinking Pepsi ruins people. He obiviously has a personally focused ax to grind. If so, so do a ton of other guys in the NFL, and the world at large.

  25. Makes me wonder if Glen had told his brother about this? You know, he might end up playing in the NFL…

    This whole thing is a joke. The dude wants to blame the NFL for all his problems. The NFL didn’t put a concealed weapon on him.

    If he doesn’t want to play football, cool beans. He was never a slave, no matter what AP says. But it seems Coffee has a million stories for why he quit. Last year he said:

    “A lot of people think that because I quit, I don’t like football or I have something against it,” Coffee said. “It’s not like that. As a recreational sport, I still dig it. It’s just not what I wanted to do with my life.”

    But now he has a new story… Maybe Coffee’s problem is really with himself and not the NFL.

  26. The NFL doesn’t “ruin lives”. It provides a unique opportunity to a select few talented people.

    What the talented people–the players–do with that opportunity is entirely up to them. If their lives are “ruined” afterward, that is entirely the fault of the player himself. Not the NFL.

    I highly doubt that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andre Johnson, etc. consider their lives “ruined”. I also think that players such as Aqib Talib, Plaxico Burress and Travis Henry have ONLY themselves to blame for their immense failures.

  27. I’m glad for Mr. Coffee that he has found something to do that he is passionate about and will probably help in the community. I do feel that it is unfair to say the NFL ruins a lot of lives. The NFL provides a opportunity for gifted athletes to be successful. What they do with that opportunity is on them and the people around them.

  28. We have secretly replaced 49ers Running Back Glenn Coffee with a half used bag of Folgers Crystals, Lets see if anyone can tell the difference.

  29. Too many Coffee lovers on here. The NFL made him get caught with a gun? Give me a friggin break!

  30. There’s no doubt that the NFL could “ruin” your life. There are numerous ways. But any job that could net you six+ figures is like that.

    My uncle did the same thing. He walked away from the game, for a few reasons, but mostly because he had another passion. He also wanted to be able to walk when he got older.

  31. ““I want to love what I do,” Coffee said”

    Good for him. He’s only 23 and he already has it figured out. Outstanding.

  32. He has been saying for 3 years that he might go into the ministry. Why is he not in the ministry?
    U need a degree in philosophy I believe to be able to enter seminary school….maybe, just maybe he made this decision so late in college that he had to start all over again….just like many college students who do the same, and therefore do not finish in 4 years….but since he is a college athlete we.cannot hold him to the same standards, can we.

  33. You honestly have to love the stones on this kid. It is one thing to say that money does not matter like LeBron, but to actually have the stones to live it. So awesome.

  34. Professional sports employs a lot of people who would never make it in the real world…nor their family members who they can then support. My guess is he’ll be calling on his former team mates who made it in the NFL for donations at whatever church he decides to go to. Hopefully he will do the right thing and turn the money down.

  35. Imagine how stupid Glen looks to us Atheists. Quits a dream job that he has worked for since childhood, to preach to strangers about a non-existent God for minimum wage. Fool.

  36. I hope y’all feel the same way about Eric Crouch, considering I see plenty of negativity for absolutely no good reasoning. Plenty of picks are wasted on players who go on to do nothing in the NFL, so try again with that poor excuse. If he wanted to quit so be it. If he feels like the NFL ruins a lot of lives, I believe there might be some validity. He was in the NFL you know…unlike any of you.

  37. this is right down the communist lane. You communist should be celebrating this story….Not knocking it.
    But glen is spot on. If you are doing anything just for money, you are in the line work for the wrong reasons.

  38. duanethomas says:
    May 22, 2011 8:06 AM

    I liken it to the military, its the difference between regular army (college football) and Navy Seal (elite). Only the elite make it to be a seal.
    What kind of moronic statement is this? Elite army soldiers don’t become navy SEALs. Very physically and mentally capable navy sailors become navy seals, because, well, one has to be in the navy to be a SEAL.

    In the army, those who are physically and mentally capable, and wish to pursue it, join the special forces (casually known as green berets), rangers, and other such elite units.

    Also, note that elite sailor and soldiers do not necessarily go join the SEALs or SF. Many of us stay where we are, and do greater things through our contributions in the fields of intelligence, comms, etc.

  39. Its really really sad we live in a society where a guy says he doesn’t care about the money, and people say he is “stupid” or a “quiter”.

    Guess what folks… not everyone cares about the green. Not everyone is willing to destroy their body for paper. Not everyone in this country is ruled by a system that was put in place to do nothing more than to keep people in line.

    Our society would only be better if more people decided their health and mental safety is more important than how many cars they can buy.

    I agree with Mr. coffee money does not equal success. Success is gained through how you treat others and how others treat you. Success is being happy with what you do. Success has nothing to do with amount of paper you make.

    Mr. Coffee you have enlightend mind and even though you would pursue a career in the ministry and i my self am not a believer, i do believe if this is what you love then you will be a success at it. Helping people is the highest calling.

  40. NFL is a dumb brutal game that destroys the body. If this guy doesn’t want to be a cripple before he’s 40 no one SHOULD blame him

  41. I can see Coffee’s point, but it’s not like ministry doesn’t also ruin a lot of lives.

  42. All the brain dead ditto heads on this site will say otherwise, but Coffee seems to have an awful lot of wisdom, humility, and sense of self for a twenty-something. Good for him. I hope he attains the happiness he seeks.

  43. The events that led to his retirement is somethinng he doesn’t speak about. Patrick Willis layed him out cold in practice a few days before his announcement. The truth is you had no field vision when you played, you didnt hit the right gaps and you were playing slow which put the fear god in you. The truth is you were probably gonna get cut eventually so go preach that good guy stuff to another choir.

  44. you got that right northern49niner. Anthony Dixon is a beast and I really cant wait to see his next season. Niners have a strong running game with great tough smashmouth backs. Good for coffee. but lets talk about someone that really wants the run the ball for the NINERS!!!

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