EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Husain Abdullah was still unsigned long into NFL free agency, with rumored contracts on the table. The former Minnesota Vikings safety wasn’t acting on any of the deals, including one from the Minnesota Vikings. Now it’s become clear why Abdullah wasn’t participating in minicamps this month.|
Reports say that Husain and his brother, Arizona Cardinals safety Hamza, announced they will be putting their NFL careers on hold to commit time to their Islamic faith and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca during the 2012 season. Husain started the past two seasons for the Vikings, but missed the final seven games last year due to a serious concussion. Husain and Hamza were both free agents this offseason.
“I visited Makkah, Saudi Arabia in March and a strong sense of urgency overcame me to attend ‘Hajj’ in October,” Husain told the website profootballtalk.com. “I love the game of football but, it would directly coincide with my pilgrimage. So, I’m taking some time off.”
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Husain observed Ramadan each year while participating in training camp for the Vikings, a remarkable feat considering he would fast each year and was still active in the sometimes grueling camp conditions.
Hamza was a key backup and special team’s player for Arizona last season.
“It has been a blessing to play in the NFL for both Husain and I, but we would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to the One who made it all possible,” Hamza said.
Pro Football Talk reported that the Abdullah’s will have “Iftar”, a Ramadan fast-breaking meal in a different U.S. mosque every night and plan to speak about fasting and its impact on athletes. The website said the two hope to “deconstruct” the negative connotations of Islam.
Reportedly, the two hope to return to the NFL following their pilgrimage.