Extra Points: From Mecca to Mizzou, Abdullah returns to the NFL

By John McMullen, NFL Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Stops in Minneapolis and Mecca led Husain Abdullah to Kansas City on Monday.

The veteran safety, who was once regarded as a rising star by the Minnesota Vikings, returned to the NFL by signing a free agent deal with Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Abdullah's 2011 season with Minnesota ended prematurely after multiple concussions resulted in symptoms that were slow to subside. The Vikings, enamored with Husain's coverage skills on the back end, tried to ink him to an extension but Abdullah had other ideas even though he was eventually cleared by doctors.

As a free agent with concussion issues, Abdullah decided against signing a new deal which would have averaged well over $2 million annually, and he and his brother, Hamza, a a reserve safety with stops with Tampa Bay, Denver, Cleveland and Arizona, both decided to put their football careers on hold in 2012 to commit time to their Islamic faith.

The two brothers went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

"It was during the last two weeks of October, so we had a decision to make," Hamza said. "Play football this season, and miss another opportunity to go for Hajj, or take some time off, then come back and try and come back for the end of the season."

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime. In today's NFL, however, having interests other than football is often frowned upon, especially if it takes precedence over the game itself.

The Abdullahs have never been shy about their religion, though, and the fact is, it is far more important to them than football, which the Vikings have known for years.

Husain always observed Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer. while in training camp for Minnesota each year, meaning he would fast and not eat or drink at all during daylight hours while still participating in very physical practices, not exactly the healthiest way to go about things.

"I'm putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion," Abdullah told NFL.com when discussing his faith. "This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do."

Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman along with a team nutritionist devised innovative ways for Abdullah to get the proper nutrition he needed from day to day.

Abdullah would eat a big breakfast and a big dinner when it was dark and then get up in the middle of the night to down a protein shake. The Washington State product slowly morphed from rookie free agent to special teams star before developing into a safety who started 24 games over two seasons, amassing 162 tackles and four interceptions during his time in the Gopher State.

Now that the Abdullahs completed their Hajj requirement and Husain's head has cleared, they were ready to resume their football careers and have been working out waiting for the phone to ring.

The Vikings moved on from Husain by drafting Harrison Smith, an All-Rookie safety who has a very high ceiling as a player. But Kansas City, which has Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis as starters but little depth, decided to give him a shot.

Abdullah announced the signing by posting a picture of his Chiefs contract with the message, "Unofficially official."

"I appreciate everyone for keeping myself and my family in your prayers this past year," Abdullah tweeted. "It was greatly appreciated.

"Looking forward to my time in KC. Whether it be 7 days or 7 years. I'll do my best to honor the organization the way it ought to be honored."

02/19 10:57:13 ET

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