Glen Coffee informed the 49ers this morning that he plans to retire, but he has not yet filed any retirement papers and won't do so until Monday, according to two league sources. That presumably leaves the door at least slightly ajar for Coffee to return to the team.
Something that may prompt Coffee to reconsider is the amount of money the 49ers would be able to recoup from his $828,000 signing bonus -- $621,000 -- should Coffee retire. That's what the 49ers are planning to do with defensive end Kentwan Balmer, who has been unexcused from practice since Tuesday. According to CSN Bay Area, the 49ers will try to get back a portion of Balmer's original bonus.
The big question is whether the 49ers would have Coffee back. In stark contrast to how he's reacted to Balmer's absence, Mike Singletary spoke in glowing terms today about Coffee. "He's an exceptional young man and I hold him in very high regard," Singletary said. "I really appreciate that it must have been a very difficult decision for him."
Still, Singletary said he didn't try to talk Coffee out of his decision. "You can't. The one thing I learned a long time ago is that if someone wants to leave and you try to bring them back, talk them out of it, chances are you are going to have to try and talk them out of it again. That would be disrespectful to the guys out here. We have guys out here that really want to be here and I'm looking high and low to try and find those 53 that really love being here. And that's what the game is all about."
There's also a question as to whether the 49ers players would welcome back someone who quit two weeks into camp. Teammates on Friday said that Coffee's decision came as a shock to them and that Coffee was among the hardest working players on the team. Coffee's offseason began mere days after the regular season ended, and he packed on 17 pounds of muscle between the time he was drafted and now. That is, Coffee has been going non-stop since he was drafted and perhaps could use a few days to think about his decision.
-- Matt Barrows