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Glen Coffee, the former standout running back of the San Francisco 49ers and the University of Alabama, has traded in his cleats and shoulder pads for a digi camo getup and a parachute. Coffee enlisted in the United States Army on February 4, 2013, just about three years after he abruptly and unexpectedly retired from the NFL. He played only one season professionally before retiring, and with a promising career ahead of him. His heart, according to him, simply wasn’t in it anymore.
“A lot of people aren’t going to understand and realize because they don’t have the wisdom to understand,” Coffee said in 2010. “Their eyes aren’t open like mine are open. True happiness is glorifying God and glorifying Christ. That’s what true happiness is. … And for me, that wasn’t the NFL. That wasn’t where I needed to be.”
“When we fill out our W2s, we’re in that category of entertainers, man. That’s not me. I want to be doing something to better myself, to better someone else. Glen Coffee’s not an entertainer.”
Glen Coffee wanted Glen Coffee to take a new life path.
With the time off and the rigorous schedule that comes with being an NFL football player in his past, Coffee pondered what he’d do with his life. He tried out a few different things, including boxing. He even got into some trouble — he was arrested on a weapons charge that was later dropped. It wasn’t until watching Tears of the Sun — a 2003 Bruce Willis movie where Willis played a Navy SEAL who leads “a mission to rescue a doctor and refugees during a Nigerian civil war” — that Coffee realized what he wanted to do. That’s when he chose to enlist.
“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.
Coffee graduates today from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. His next move is on to Fort Bragg, where he hopes to become a Green Beret.