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Abdullah brothers pause NFL careers for Ramadan


Not many brothers make it to the NFL. Even fewer walk away from it together.

Hamza and Husain Abdullah have announced that they’ll be pausing their pro football careers to make a pilgrimage to Mecca during the 2012 NFL season, as part of their Islamic faith.

“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.

“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.”

Both Hamza and Husain are free agents. Husain, we’re told, had multiple offers for the coming season, including an offer to return to the Vikings.

Hamza, 28, appeared in 16 games last season for the Cardinals. Husain, 26, started nine games in 2011 and 15 in 2010 for the Vikings.

As part of their effort, they’ll have “Iftar,” which is the Ramadan fast-breaking meal, in a different U.S. mosque every night. They plan to speak about fasting and its impact on athletes, specifically focusing on the importance of hydration and nutrition during Ramadan. They also hope to “deconstruct” the negative connotations of Islam.

The Abdullah brother hope to return to the NFL during the regular season, following the completion of their pilgrimage, but they acknowledge their opportunities may be limited.

Here’s hoping someone gives one or both of them a chance to keep playing. With injuries being inevitable, a need for their services surely will arise.