Glen Coffee was a third-round pick in 2009 and spent his rookie season as Frank Gore’s backup with the San Francisco 49ers. But after just one year in the NFL, he abruptly retired and chose faith over football.
Now, seven years later — the last four of which were with the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers — Coffee, 29, has filed for reinstatement and will try to make an unlikely comeback.
A return to the NFL after seven seasons away would simply be unprecedented. Bronko Nagurski once retired after the 1937 season before returning after five years away in 1943. More recently, Deion Sanders retired after the 2000 season and sat out three years before returning in 2004.
But seven years?
“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” Coffee’s agent Ray Oubre told CSN Bay Area. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.
“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”
Oubre says Coffee has been training for four months for his comeback and will be in contact with all 32 teams to see if any are interested in bringing him in for a workout.
When Coffee retired in 2010, he didn’t cite the military as the reason for his departure. He said that he was choosing faith over football.
"I feel like it's His will," Coffee told the Mobile Press-Register in 2010, shortly after he announced his retirement. "It's something that I really felt like I shouldn't have entered the NFL in the first place. I don't know what call God has for my life, but it wasn't football.
“I'll be happier, not necessarily because I'm without football, but because I'm letting Him do His work. Whether it was leaving football or leaving something else, another job, it doesn't matter. I'll be happy because I'm following His will."
But now — less than a month before his 30th birthday — Coffee is ready to return.