49ers' Coffee leaves team, football

Running back Glen Coffee left the San Francisco 49ers on Friday morning, telling the team he no longer wants to play football.

It was another sudden blow in a tumultuous week for the 49ers, who saw defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer leave the team Monday. Balmer, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2008, missed practice for the fifth straight day Friday.

“We just respond to this and move forward,” coach Mike Singletary said. “We’re dealing with this in stride and continuing to have our best practice. The thing that we’re trying to do as the 49ers is that we’re trying to find 53 men that love the game of football.”

Coffee apparently isn’t one of those. In a statement released by the team, the second-year veteran said, “I feel it is best for me that I move on from football.”

Coffee, San Francisco’s third-round draft pick in 2009, was the team’s second-leading rusher as a rookie last season with 226 yards and one touchdown.

Coffee was in competition this summer with rookie sixth-round draft pick Anthony Dixon to be the team’s top backup to Pro Bowl halfback Frank Gore.

Singletary, who said Coffee “was having a fine camp,” said Coffee’s abrupt decision caught the team by surprise.

Coffee didn’t show up for Thursday’s afternoon practice and then informed Singletary of his decision Friday morning.

Coffee’s departure leaves the 49ers with Dixon and fifth-year veteran Michael Robinson as the only halfbacks on the roster behind Gore. Singletary said the 49ers will immediately look to bring in another running back.


Shawne Merriman signed his $3,269,000, one-year tender with the San Diego Chargers on Friday, admitting his two-week holdout didn’t accomplish anything.

The star outside linebacker won’t play in tonight’s exhibition opener against Chicago, but coach Norv Turner expects him to be ready by the following weekend’s game against Dallas.


Donovan McNabb went 5-for-8 for 58 yards and a touchdown as the Redskins got off to a strong preseason start beating the Bills 42-17. After the game, Bills coach Chan Gailey said running backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch both suffered injures. Jackson is expected to miss at least the rest of preseason while the severity of Lynch’s injury was not known ... Newly minted Philadelphia starter Kevin Kolb was impressive, and backup Michael Vick displayed flashes of his old self as the Eagles beat the Jaguars 28-27. ... Patriots defensive end Ty Warren is out for the season with a hip injury. The Patriots also announced that linebacker Derrick Burgess has reported to camp after considering retirement.