Figuring out the “why” shouldn’t be important when it comes to Glen Coffee

San Francisco 49ers RB Glen Coffee is grabbed by Denver Broncos Kenny Peterson (90) in the first quarter of preseason football at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 14, 2009. UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

Many people enjoy movies that end by leaving something up to the imagination. They like it when the final scene ends and it makes them think.

Me, I hate that. I didn’t fork over $74.95 on a flick so I could draw my own conclusions at the end. I’m almost convinced that directors sometimes throw up their hands after they’re done writing a script and go, “F**k it, I don’t know how to end this sh*t, so I’ll just go with the ol’ leave-it-up-to-the-imagination bit.”

Finish the movie, Mr. Director. You tell me what to think – that’s what I’m paying you for.

But when it comes to the mysterious case of Glen Coffee and his decision to suddenly retire on Friday, I don’t need to be given the why. Why does it matter?

I get why people are interested: it was a shocking move. Most players would give their left ear to have a roster spot on a NFL team. Coffee wasn’t a starter, but he was a key backup on an up-and-coming team. He also showed enough promise last year to prove that he does have what it takes to sustain a career in a very fickle profession.

But obviously he wasn’t into football anymore. Whether he lost his passion at Alabama or lost it after getting pancaked by a linebacker at a recent 49ers’ practice, the key is that he did lose his passion. He didn’t want to play football anymore and that’s that.

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The curious case of Glen Coffee

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22: Glen Coffee #29 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against the Oakland Raiders during a preseason game on August 22, 2009 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

A little over a year ago, Glen Coffee put together an eye-catching performance in preseason and some pundits believed that he could emerge as a solid complement to Frank Gore in the 49ers’ backfield.

That, of course, was before Coffee unexpectedly announced his retirement on Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Coffee is calling it quits despite this being just his second year in the league. He was battling with rookie Anthony Dixon in camp, but head coach Mike Singletary noted that Dixon still had a long ways to go to leapfrog Coffee on the depth chart. Plus, Singletary has given Coffee high marks thus far, making his decision to retire/quit even stranger.

Singletary has developed a reputation over the last couple of years for running a tough camp, but that can’t be the only reason Coffee decided to pull the plug on his career this soon. After all, he got through Singletary’s camp as a rookie last year just fine.

That said, you never know what a person is going through until you’ve walked a mile in his or her shoes. Maybe Coffee has lost the passion to play or maybe he’ll regret his decision in a day and return to the practice field. Many young players struggle with being away from their friends and family and maybe Coffee is just going through a rocky time right now. Relatively speaking, he’s still just a kid.

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly a surprising development. The 49ers are still in good shape at running back with Gore, Dixon and Michael Robinson, but that doesn’t mean make Coffee’s decision any less shocking.

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