We won’t be seeing Husain Abdullah in the NFL in 2012. The free agent safety, who rose from UDFA status to become a reliable player with the Vikings, has elected to take the year off to fulfill his obligations as a Muslim, including attending the Haj in Mecca in October. Abdullah’s brother Hamza has also decided to put his NFL career on hold in the name of his Islamic faith.
For Husain there might be more behind this decision than simply his faith. Last year he suffered a season-ending concussion, the second major concussion event of his career, and after the season he reportedly went back-and-forth on whether to continue in the NFL and face further brain injury. The Vikings were willing to welcome him back if he did elect to go on playing, but obviously Abdullah has other things on his mind besides football. He may decide to resume his career in the future, but after two concussions and a whole year off? Who knows if we’ll ever see him on the field again.
Had Abdullah returned to Minnesota, he would’ve been thrown into the mix for starting safety along with rookies Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton, 2011 sometime-starter Jamarca Sanford and 2011 draft pick Mistral Raymond. Now, with Abdullah off the table, the Vikings may turn to former Colts safety Melvin Bullitt as an extra option in the defensive backfield. The Vikings have reportedly shown interest in Bullitt, who played for new defensive coordinator Alan Williams in Indianapolis.
To Husain and Hamza Abdullah, have a safe pilgrimage.