NFL free agents Hamza and Husain Abdullah, brothers who are practicing Muslims, plan to sit out the 2012 season to speak at mosques this summer, then make a pilgrimage to Mecca, NFL.com reported Thursday.
It’s unclear whether they are leaving the NFL permanently.
“It has been a blessing to play in the NFL for both Husain and I,” Hamza said in a press release, “but we would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to the One who made it all possible.”
“I visited Makkah, Saudi Arabia in March and a strong sense of urgency overcame me to attend ‘Hajj’ in October,” Husain said. ” I love the game of football but, it would directly coincide with my pilgrimage. So, I’m taking some time off.”
Husain, 26, a defensive back who started 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010 and nine more for the Vikings in 2011, has turned down contract offers from the Vikings and other teams, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Husain’s career may have been in jeopardy before this decision. He sustained four concussions over the past two seasons, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and had visited a concussion specialist to determine whether his long-term health was in danger
Hamza, 28, played sparingly for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, but he appeared in 16 games.