It was less than five years ago that running back Glen Coffee was mowing over opposing would-be tacklers for the first great Alabama team under Nick Saban. But just as suddenly as he found his groove as a football player — first with the Crimson Tide and then as a capable 2009 backup for Frank Gore on the San Francisco 49ers — he decided to walk away in August of 2010.
On Friday, the 26-year-old Coffee will realize one of his post-football goals when he graduates from U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning (GA) with hopes of transferring to Fort Bragg (NC) and becoming a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
“I kind of had a feeling back then that there would really be no civilian job that would give me the satisfaction,” Coffee told AL.com when recalling how he broke the news of his retirement to the 49ers. “I actually told them then that I was going to join the military. I didn’t want to play football anymore.”
Coffee followed through on that inkling when he enlisted in the Army in February. He explained his decision to do so to AL.com thusly:
“I’ve always considered myself a warrior, somebody who would fight for what he believed in. It hit me like, ‘What do you think the military does and what do you think the military is full of? Warriors. All of a sudden, I had this respect for the military and I just realized that there is no America without the men and women who serve this country. … I figured that if I’m able, the Lord’s blessed me with an able body while I’m young, to get out there and get dirty.”
We wish Coffee the best of luck. Glen Coffee profile