Newest mystery: Glen Coffee

As the 49ers deal with the Kenwan Balmer situation, another drama looms. RB Glen Coffee is not on the practice field this morning, and the 49ers are not yet offering an explanation.

Coffee is locked in competition (with rookie Anthony Dixon) for the No. 2 job at halfback behind Frank Gore, but there had been no indications he is unhappy with the team or his role here. Because the 49ers feel comfortable resting Gore, Coffee has been getting lots of work on the practice field.

His representative, Todd Crannell, did not return a message left on the answering machine of his agency, Q2 Sports and Entertainment, and has not yet replied to my e-mail.

Mike Singletary is scheduled to address the media after practice, sometime around 12:30. The coach will surely be peppered with questions regarding Coffee, as he was regarding Balmer when the defensive end’s absence became unexcused on Wednesday. That day, Singletary was in no mood to discuss the impasse. We’ll see how he treats Coffee’s situation today.

Coffee, a third-round draft choice out of Alabama in 2009, had a strong preseason as a rookie but averaged just 2.7 yards on 83 carries during the regular season. Dixon is bigger, and possibly faster, but has been struggling to pick up the nuances of the position.

Comcast Sports has reported that the 49ers will seek to recoup a portion of the signing bonus they originally paid Balmer, a first-round draft choice in 2008. He was absent this morning for the fifth straight day. The team received a roster exemption for him and signed DT Will Tukuafu as a possible replacement.

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