Husain Abdullah joined the Chiefs in 2013 after a one-year hiatus from the sport in which he took a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Former Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Husain Abdullah announced his retirement from the NFL after a seven-year career, citing his fifth concussion as one of the reasons for his decision.
Undrafted out of Washington State, Abdullah, 30, was signed by the Vikings in 2008 and spent four seasons in Minnesota before moving over to Kansas City after a one-year hiatus from the league.
Abdullah expressed gratitude towards both organizations for taking a chance on an undrafted free agent but said it was time for him to focus on his “personal health.”
“Sitting for five weeks last year after suffering the fifth concussion of my career, I had a lot to contemplate,” Abdullah wrote in an Instagram post. “My goals moving forward are to be of benefit to my family, my community, my country and hopefully the world. Having a sound mind will be vital in accomplishing these goals.”
The defensive back has long been known as a man of religious faith and spirituality who has remained introspective about football and its place in his life off the field. In 2012, he took a year off from the sport to complete a pilgrimage alongside his brother, former NFL player Hamza Abdullah, to the holy city of Mecca, which all Muslims are supposed to complete once in their lifetime.
When he returned from the pilgrimage after a year away from football, the Chiefs gave Abdullah an opportunity to work out for them, and eventually signed him to a one-year contract.
“I like his soul. I like his mind-set,” Kansas City GM John Dorsey told USA Today in 2013. “He’s a good football player, a very smart football player. He likes the game of football, but sometimes life’s not always about football. He let his spirit (guide him), and he went and did one of his dreams.”
Abdullah sat the final five games of 2015 after suffering his fifth concussion in a Week 12 game against the Bills.
Abdullah sustained his fifth concussion in a Week 12 game this past season against the Buffalo Bills and did not play again, after starting only three games for the Chiefs in 2015. He enjoyed his most productive season in Minnesota in 2010, starting 15 games while recording a career-best three interceptions and 50 tackles, the second highest total of his career.
“I would like to thank the Minnesota Vikings for giving me an opportunity to make the team after going undrafted in 2008,” Abdullah wrote. “I experienced a great deal of growth both as a football player and as a person during my 4 years in Minnesota.”
Abdullah signed with the Vikings in 2008 after going undrafted out of Washington State.
Abdullah becomes the second recent player to retire prematurely from the NFL while citing head injuries as reasoning. Former Packers wide receiver Adrian Coxson retired after his rookie season, fearing that another hit to his head “could possibly kill” him. Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, also 30 years old, announced his retirement in early March, though he did not explicitly mention concussions as a factor in his decision.
An NFL executive recognized a link between football-related head injuries and the degenerative brain disease CTE for the first time during a roundtable discussion with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce two weeks ago.