38 Days Away from Bama Kickoff: Glen Coffee
Each day counting down to Alabama's Week 1 matchup with Utah State, I will highlight one former player whose jersey number coincides with the amount of days until the game. The Tide takes the field in only 38 days, so let's look at the career of former Bama running back Glen Coffee.
Glen Coffee suited up for the Crimson Tide from 2005-08 and was a key building block of the Nick Saban era at Alabama. Though he was not recruited by Saban or his staff, the former three-star prospect bought into the regime and helped create the dynasty as it stands today.
Coffee was originally recruited by Mike Shula and was a member of Alabama's 15th ranked 2005 class. In his freshman season, the running back saw time in all twelve of the Tide's games, mostly serving as a backup to Kenneth Darby and Jimmy Johns.
After redshirting his second season due to injury, Coffee entered his third year with a new coach and a broader role within the offense. Saban took over from the fired Shula and Coffee split time with freshman Terry Grant. Though he was not the featured option at running back, the sophomore finished the season with 545 yards and four touchdowns.
As a junior, Coffee took over as the starter, and in 14 games finished with over 1,300 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named to the All-SEC First Team and forewent his senior season in favor of entering the 2009 NFL Draft.
Coffee was drafted in the third round by the San Francisco 49ers and spent one season as the backup to Frank Gore before calling it quits on football altogether. While the decision stunned many of his fans, the running back provided an honest answer that anyone should appreciate.
"As far as the NFL goes, I have a hard time putting it like this because it sounds kind of harsh, but I feel like it ruins a lot of lives more than anything else. And that goes for people who have short careers in the NFL and long careers in the NFL," Coffee told the Sacramento Bee in 2011, "Because what happens is they see that as success. And money throughout your life has nothing to with your salvation in Christ. A lot of players get that money. And they chase that money, man, and I feel that they’re really missing the true meaning of life. So I’m constantly afraid for the NFL and the players because kids growing up nowadays, they see that as the end all, be all. And that’s just not the case.”
Coffee felt as if his time in the NFL was being wasted, and returned back home to spend time with his family. While living in Florida close to his loved ones, the former Bama star came to a decision that, while it likely shocked those around him, felt like the correct move.
Coffee enlisted in the U.S Army in 2013 to become a Paratrooper and after graduating from Jump School, was assigned to the 6th Ranger Training Battalion where he reached the rank of Specialist (E-4) and served as an airborne infantryman.
In 2017, the former Bama back attempted an NFL comeback, and despite his reinstatement from the league, received no interest from any teams.
Coffee returned to Tuscaloosa the next year to finish his degree at Alabama and also served as an assistant coach, working with the running backs. He spent just a season with the team and has since served as an occasional guest host on the E36 Unfiltered Room Podcast.