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Updated: June 22nd, 2012 10:54pm
Husain Abdullah says goodbye: 'Minnesota is a beautiful place'

Husain Abdullah says goodbye: 'Minnesota is a beautiful place'

by Tom Pelissero
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Husain Abdullah may return to the NFL after sitting out this season to take a spiritual journey. But the way he addressed his departure from the Minnesota Vikings sounded like a final goodbye.

"Minnesota is a beautiful place with beautiful people," Abdullah wrote in a text message on Friday night. "Honored I could experience it. Peace."

Abdullah, 26, and his brother, Hamza, announced in a statement to several media outlets on Thursday they plan to sit out at least the start of the 2012 season to make a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Abdullahs are Muslim.

According to, the brothers plan to have "Iftar" -- the fast-breaking meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins on July 19 -- in a different U.S. city every night, speaking about fasting and its impact on athletes. Then, they'll make the "Hajj" (pilgrimage) in October and hope to return to the NFL after that, perhaps late in the regular season.

Both are free agents and play safety, Husain the past four seasons with the Vikings and Hamza for seven NFL seasons with three teams, most recently the Arizona Cardinals. Husain Abdullah made headlines in 2010 when he spoke publicly about fasting during training camp.

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, Abdullah spent his first two seasons as a special teamer, then beat out Tyrell Johnson for a starting job in 2010.

He started 24 games over the past two seasons, and the Vikings offered him a contract extension early last season. He turned it down in part because his strong religious beliefs made him uncomfortable creating a distraction related to money.

A fourth concussion in two years landed Abdullah on injured reserve last season and left his future in doubt. But two leading specialists cleared him medically in January, and Abdullah expressed optimism about resuming his career.

That'll have to wait at least a little longer, though, and it's safe to say right now football isn't the top thing on Abdullah's mind.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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