I read a story earlier this morning that San Francisco running back Glen Coffee, former Alabama star, had missed a practice and his whereabouts were unknown. It’s now being reported through The Associated Press that Coffee informed the team on Friday that he no longer desires to play football.

All throughout the off-season, I’ve been banging the drum about the prospects for the 49ers, owing a nod to Frank Gore’s brilliance, the improvements made on the offensive line, Alex Smith’s growth and the expectation that Coffee would raise his game in his second year. Well, all of the former is now true, but rookie Anthony Dixon, a sixth-round pick out of Mississippi State will be called upon to play the back-up role to Gore. Michael Robinson, the former Penn State quarterback, is in the third spot for now.

There isn’t much out there in the way of free agent running backs. Might the 49ers reach out to Brian Westbrook? The other “name” backs out there are Dominic Rhodes, DeShaun Foster, T.J. Duckett & Adrian Peterson II.

The other move is to make a trade. With the 49ers expected to push for a division title, a trade with Buffalo (Marshawn Lynch) or Baltimore (Willis McGahee) is certainly in the realm of possibility. They need an insurance policy for Gore.

Coach Mike Singletary was already dealing with Kentwan Balmer’s unexcused absence. I love the quote from the Hall of Famer – “If he wanted to be back, he’d be back.” Balmer, the 49ers’ 2008 first-round pick, has yet to make an impact for the squad on any level — except this headache.

There never seems to be a shortage of drama for the Singletary-led 49ers. Will these preseason issues be enough to derail this squad?