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Husain Abdullah wanted to return to football in 2012

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 27: Husain Abdullah #39 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Dallas Cowboys on August 27, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Husain Abdullah

Hannah Foslien

Safety Husain Abdullah drew a lot of attention for his decision to skip the 2012 season to join millions of other Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

It’s not every day that you hear about a NFL starter in his prime walking away from the game when he’s still healthy enough to play it and Abdullah told Bill Williamson of ESPN.com that he knew there was a chance he wouldn’t be able to land another job in the league. Abdullah said he was fine with that scenario -- his brother and fellow safety Hamza hasn’t landed a job after taking the pilgrimage as well -- but that he also worked hard to get back into football shape upon his return from the pilgrimage in hopes of landing a job with an NFL team before the end of the season.

“But teams figured that I missed OTAs and training camp that I might not be ready,” Abdullah said. “I understood. So I had to wait. It crossed my mind that I wouldn’t get a chance. I was at peace with that. I was so grateful do to something I waited my whole life for.”

Abdullah wound up signing with the Chiefs in February, which looks like a pretty good spot for him to resume his career. Eric Berry is set at one safety spot, but Kendrick Lewis struggled with injuries in 2012 and could be vulnerable to a challenge from Abdullah this summer.