Retired Glen Coffee dances around the money issue

There were far more questions than there were answers last summer when Glen Coffee abruptly retired from the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers before the start of his second season.

The former Alabama star had a bright future ahead of him as the No. 2 behind Frank Gore and everything seemed to be pointing up for him on the field.

He talked about wanting to join the ministry, and now he’s opened up in an interview with Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Coffee said the No. 1 reason people ask him about leaving the NFL is because they want to know about the money.

Speaking of the money, Barrows asked him if the 49ers have made any efforts to recoup some of the signing bonus the organization paid him as a third-round draft pick.

“Um, well I don't want to talk about that because that's getting into legal stuff,” Coffee said. “So, I'll let that question go.”

Sounds to us like it might be about the money to Coffee, doesn't it?

“People just keep asking me (why I retired), 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?'

“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. 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. And money throughout your life has nothing to with your salvation in Christ. A lot of players get that money. And they chase that money, man, and I feel that they're really missing the true meaning of life. So I'm constantly afraid for the NFL and the players because kids growing up nowadays, they see that as the end all, be all. And that's just not the case.”

Last week, Coffee resurfaced playing semi-pro football in Florida, a lifetime away from the NFL lockout and, well, the big pay days available in professional football. Would Coffee ever consider attempting a comeback?

“I never say never, man,” he said. “You know, my reason for leaving is that I was there for the Lord. That's the reason I left 'Bama early and that's the reason I also left the NFL. If the Lord should say that I should return one day, then I'll return. But as of right now, I don't see that happening. But like I said, I never say never.

“And I want to add on as a far as returning to the NFL. How do I put this? I'm not what you call an entertainer, man. I don't want to sound mean or attack the NFL, but I'm not an entertainer. I see football as being the same as being a singer, being a dancer or something along those lines. When we fill out our W2’s, we're in that category of entertainers, man. That's not me. I want to be doing something to better myself, to better someone else. Glen Coffee's not an entertainer.”

As for how Coffee explains how a disciple of Christ can be busted with a loaded handgun in his car, check out Barrows’ Q&A.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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