Roy Exum: He'd Rather Have Jesus

Monday, August 16, 2010
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Glen Coffee, a 23-year-old pro football player who had a $2.5 million contract and a promising career in store, walked away from the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, and none of the cynical national media knew quite what to do or say. That's because Glen, a back-up running back for the 49ers, calmly said he'd rather walk with Jesus instead of playing games anymore.

His decision, he told the shocked reporters who follow the team, was one that he'd "been wrestling with a long time," and those who know the classy kid who accepted the Lord as his Savior during his junior year at the University of Alabama say he'll not change his mind.

"I feel like it's God’s will," Mr. Coffee said. "It's something that I really felt...like I shouldn't have entered the NFL in the first place. I don't know what call God has for my life, but it wasn't football. I'll be happier, not necessarily because I'm without football, but because I'm letting Him do his work.

"Whether it was leaving football or leaving something else, another job, it doesn't matter. I'll be happy because I'm following His will," he added, even though he isn't sure what path God wants him to take. "I'm going back to school to finish my degree (he lacks only six hours) and I'll probably get a Master's degree, too. God will let me know what's next."

Mr. Coffey was the leading rusher on Alabama's 2008 team, running for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns on a team that finished 12-2. He skipped his last year of eligibility at Alabama, instead signing with the 49ers when he was picked in the third round. During last year's rookie season, he was the team's number two runner behind Frank Gore, and ended his first season with 226 yards and one touchdown.

Mr. Coffey isn't surprised that everybody else is quite surprised. He came into camp in the best shape of his life. He had even gained 10 pounds of muscle. Once there, he has been impressive the first couple of weeks. "A lot of people aren't going to understand and realize because they don't have the wisdom to understand," he said.

"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. It's giving in to his will, man. I feel like I was wasting the organization's time, as far as the Niners," he explained.

"I felt like I was wasting my time," he added. "I should have never entered the league, and I'm sorry I had to (quit) in the middle of camp and leave my teammates like that. But it was something that I felt like I needed to do."

To Mike Singletary, the 49ers head coach, the player's decision was disappointing, but said he wouldn't try to talk him out of it. "My initial reaction was, 'Glen, are you sure about this?' He said, 'Yes, sir, I've given it a lot of thought,' and I said, 'OK. If that's where you are, then I respect that, and I appreciate your honesty.

"I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions,” said the San Francisco coach. “He said his heart isn't in it. It's his decision. He is a man, and the last thing that I'm going to do is disrespect him and try to drag something out.

"I told him I appreciate the character that you have, to come and let us know so that we can move forward and not put us in a situation where we have to go scramble and do something that we didn't want to do."

Some skeptics said over the weekend that Coffee would have second thoughts, but Glen said it's done. "No, man. I've already told Christ it's time to go. I've already rung the bell. That's not going to happen."

There was also a rumor that he'd taken a harder-than-normal hit during Singletary's tough practices. "I was reading on the Internet and some reporter said I made the decision because I got blown up in a blocking drill.

“Come on, man! Give me more credit than that! But I've got to expect that when I do something so unexpectedly. No, there were no personal issues. But I really am sorry that I put the 49ers in this situation. I should have handled it a lot differently."

Coffey's teammates were saddened. One even said, "I just feel like I've lost a brother." That confirmed the Crimson Tide star was highly-respected and having good practices before making his decision. What's more, several cited Coffey’s tireless work ethic and the fact he was constantly working out in the off-season.

"Whatever you do, you've got to do it to glorify Christ. You've got to do it 100 percent. Even though my head was sort of me holding onto the sport, I tried to get all the way into it."

That didn't work. Now he'll follow Jesus. "Now I am happy," he said.

royexum@aol.com


Shame On The Local News People

Thursday night there was a showing of the HBO Movie "Bessie" at the Tivoli Theatre.  "Bessie" was one of our most famous Chattanooga citizens.  Great movie and the outfits were amazing.  Cars and trucks parked out front were beautiful.   Now the problem.  I did not see any coverage by our local "news" persons.  Will HBO want to premier any other ... (click for more)

Sincere Thanks To The County Commission

It seems good government can raise its head every once in a while, so we must thank our County Commissioners for listening to the voice of the vast majority of the taxpayers, and not buying what Superintendent Rick Smith was selling last Wednesday as he pitched his tax increase.  The "it's for the children" ploy didn't work so far this time, so I guess our high-paid superintendent, ... (click for more)

City Applying For Federal Grant To Extend River Trail To Moccasin Bend In $2.23 Million Project

The city is applying for a $1.6 million federal grant that would be a key part of the funding needed to extend a trail by the Tennessee River from Renaissance Park to Moccasin Bend. The city is seeking an Eastern Federal Highway Division grant to go along with $234,260 of city funds. The state portion would be $259,692.  Grants from the Lyndhurst and Benwood Foundations ... (click for more)

Flora Tydings Selected As Chattanooga State’s Next President

Flora Tydings is expected to be named the next president to lead Chattanooga State Community College pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents at a special called meeting next Wednesday. The board will meet at 9:30 a.m. CDT at the TBR System Office in Nashville. Included on the agenda is TBR Chancellor John Morgan’s recommendation for Dr. Tydings to replace Interim President ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS 6-4 For D-II Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – Oh, what a difference a year makes. The GPS Bruisers came through the losers bracket a year ago and beat Baylor twice after losing the first five times they played, but those two were the biggest as it gave the team in blue a state D-II softball championship. The situation was similar a year later, but the results a bit different as the Lady Red Raiders beat ... (click for more)

Dickson County Ousts Ooltewah, 6-5, In Epic 12-Inning Thriller

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – For Ooltewah, more heartbreak followed heartbreak. After a tough loss to Wilson Central on Thursday, the Lady Owls fought furiously with Dickson County in an epic 12-inning marathon Friday before the Lady Cougars’ Keely Buchanan laced a game-winning single up the middle to end  the game and Ooltewah's masterful season. Dickson County, which lost ... (click for more)