Coffee’s departure: the reaction

The first words on the subject came from Glen Coffee himself, in a brief statement distributed by the 49ers PR department after this morning’s practice: “This has been a tough decision for me to make, but at this time in my life I feel it is best for me that I move on from football. I appreciate what the 49ers, my teammates and coaches have done for me, and I wish them a blessed season and all the best in the future.”

The news came so suddenly that there wasn’t much time to gather thoughts from teammates. While waiting for resolution – apparently, Coffee has not filed retirement papers with the NFL office yes – here is some of the reaction we did get in Santa Clara today.

Mike Singletary: “Glen informed us this morning of his intent to no longer play the game of football. I respect that. I appreciate everything he’s done for the 49ers. Whatever the issues are, I’m not going to go into to all the other stuff. You’ll have to talk to Glen about that. But I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions. The thing that we’re trying to do as the 49ers is that we’re trying to find 53 men that love the game of football.”

Singletary on the roster spot: “As far as Glen Coffee is concerned, I think that Trent Baalke and the personnel staff will look around and see what’s out there, see what’s available and we’ll go from there.”
 
Singletary on whether it came out of the blue: “Yes, it did.”
 
Singletary: “He was having a fine camp.”
 
Singletary on whether he tried to talk Coffee out of his decision: “No. You can’t. One thing I learned a long time ago is that if someone wants to leave and you try to bring him back, talk him out of it, chances are you’re going to have try to talk him out of it again. That would be disrespectful to the guys out here. We have guys out here that really want to be here.”
 
Singletary: “My initial reaction was: ‘Glen, are you sure about this?’ He said, ‘Yes, sir, I’ve given it a lot of thought.’ I said, ‘OK, well, if that’s where you are, then I respect that. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate the character that you have to come and let us know so that we can move forward and not put is in a situation where we have to go scramble and do something that we wouldn’t want to do.’ “
 
Singletary on the timing of their face-to-face conversation: “This morning.”
 
Singletary on Gore’s demeanor this morning: “I just thought that I know that he felt bad. His demeanor was: I really hate to do this, I really hate to lay this on you, Coach. I love my teammates and I love what you’re doing. But since college, my heart just hasn’t been in it. As a matter of fact, I came out early because my heart wasn’t in it. So, it was just one of those things. Knowing Glen Coffee, he really felt awful. I’m thinking that he was thinking I was really going to be upset with him. That was not the case.”
 
Singletary on whether Coffee was healthy: “Oh, yeah. Absolutely.”
 
Singletary on the response of his players: “We had our best practice yesterday of the training camp. Today, the guys are excited. We’re ready to play football. I’m excited about the opportunity that Anthony Dixon has. Am I a little sad by the fact that Coffee is not here? Yes, I am. The reason why is more of his character than as a football player. He’s an exceptional young man. I hold him in very high regard.”
 
Singletary on what Coffee will do with his life now: “I have no idea.”

Running back Michael Robinson on whether he saw it coming: “No. No. Glen’s a good friend of mine. I feel bad, like I’m losing a brother. We had no indication.”
 
Robinson on when he got the news: “Actually, I found out last night. When we found that he wasn’t here, I tried to contact him, and he contacted me back. And he said he had to talk to Coach Singletary this morning, and that was all I knew. I look at him like a brother, so my main concern was, was he OK? Once I heard in his voice that he was OK and everything was good with my brother, then that was more his issue with the team.”
 
Robinson on whether he thinks Coffee lost his love for football: “Um, no. I mean, you guys are here for a lot of practice also. You see the kid has loads of talent, and obviously his play, you can tell in his play he was very passionate for the game, and what I could see, had a big love for the game.”

Running back Anthony Dixon: “At first, you know, it was kind of depressing, because Glen was like a brother to me. So first I had to deal with it like that. But then, you know, I also had to know it was time to step up. Coach (Jimmy Raye) always talking about when you get called, pick up the phone. That’s how he put it. So I knew it was my time. I knew they was gonna call on me. So I just get prepared to pick up the phone, you know?”

The one slice of reaction we haven’t gotten yet? Word from Coffee or his agent on why this is happening.