Glen Coffee was destined to have a stellar NFL career.
The San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the third round in 2009, and he got a good amount of touches during his rookie season — 83 carries for 226 yards and a touchdown.
But that all changed when he abruptly decided to retire before his second season, at age 23.
“I was sitting in the locker room before practice and looked down at my spats,” Coffee told CSN Bay Area. “And I told myself, ‘If you cut off your spats, that’s really it. You’re not going to practice. It was a slow-motion type of thing. I started at the top of my spats, and I slowly cut them off. It was almost like shackles falling off my feet.”
Coffee decided to become more religious, moving back to his home in Florida. However, he says that his goal of becoming a minister is long-term.
Instead, he decided to enlist in the Army and serve his country, with inspiration coming from war movies.
“I’ve always considered myself a warrior, somebody who would fight for what he believed in,” he said. “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.”
So Coffee is now set to graduate from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., with the goal of joining the U.S. Army Special Forces.
Coffee’s decision is extremely commendable. Instead of making millions of dollars by hitting people and running around with a football, he is giving up his career to do what he really loves.