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Manning, Broncos pound 49ers -10/20/2014, 10:26 AM

Charles the Chiefs' all-time leader -10/20/2014, 10:17 AM

'Boys move to 6-1 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

K.C. kicks past Chargers -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Jump back to 1985 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive with win at Talladega -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

FHSU women earn shutout, set record -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

KSU sits atop Big 12 -10/19/2014, 6:42 AM

Early mistakes sink Jayhawks -10/19/2014, 6:41 AM

Tigers nab 'W' at Emporia -10/19/2014, 8:21 PM

Knights secure district, playoff spot -10/19/2014, 6:34 AM

TMP claims MCL tourney title -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Monarchs take team to Class 4A state -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 17 -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Indian volleyball second at WAC -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

HHS has high expectations for 4A golf finale -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Buhler hands Hays High first loss in blowout -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

FHSU men win eighth straight -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

FHSU Tiger Open XC results -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

Tiger women record third consecutive shutout -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Tiger volleyball wins third straight match -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Indians' Forinash goes 0-2 at 4A state -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

TMP falls in district opener to Beloit -10/17/2014, 11:46 AM

HHS soccer falls to Bishop Carroll -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

FHSU men's soccer wins seventh straight -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Tigers look to climb back above .500 -10/17/2014, 10:38 AM

HHS fourth in WAC meet -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP boys 2nd, girls 3rd at Lakeside -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP volleyball goes 2-0 in first day at MCL -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Indians' Forinash in 4A state field -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Wichita State's Darius Carter shows off his jumper -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

KVA prep volleyball rankings, Oct. 15 -10/16/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP drops close one to Liberal -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

TMP gets Beloit in district opener -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

K.C. headed to first World Series since 1985 -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Selden ready to step into bigger role -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Big district game for Hays High -10/16/2014, 10:31 AM

Area prep football district standings, Oct. 16 -10/16/2014, 10:11 AM

Royals sweep O's, headed to World Series -10/15/2014, 7:17 PM

Tigers fall in three -10/15/2014, 11:39 AM

Chiefs' Johnson sheds weight in hopes of return -10/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants win walk-off on throwing error in 10th -10/15/2014, 10:12 AM

Wildcat running backs looking to break out -10/15/2014, 10:12 AM

Royals one win from World Series -10/15/2014, 11:44 AM

Chiefs' Charles with eyes on the prize -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Parsons, Boxberger qualify in 3-2-1A golf -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Royals getting it done old school -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

KSU prepares for OU -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Faith comes before football for Chiefs' Abdullah

Published on -7/28/2014, 9:59 AM

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By Sam Mellinger

McClatchy-Tribune

The organized chaos of an NFL practice surrounds Husain Abdullah, and he is tired. His legs feel heavy. This is such an important time for Abdullah. He's never had an opportunity like this before, and he can't be sure if an opportunity like this will ever come again.

But, man. He is exhausted. He sees a teammate open a bottle of Gatorade. That would help, if he could drink it. But even water is off-limits for Abdullah, who is competing for the Chiefs' starting safety spot opposite Eric Berry.

A nap is as good as it gets for recovery during his 13-hour workdays, much of them spent in the July heat with no water. Abdullah is a professional athlete with potentially millions of dollars at stake showing the sports world a whole different meaning of the word sacrifice.

"I do it for God," he says. "I don't do it to say I'm a tough guy. Trust me, when it's not the month of Ramadan, I am not fasting and playing football. You do it for the sake of God, and for me, God comes before anything."

As a practicing Muslim, Abdullah does not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, which this year runs from June 28 through Monday. If he needs it, he'll occasionally rinse his mouth or splash water on his lips.

Trainers give him cool towels to put on his head and neck during breaks. They open the cafeteria at Missouri Western State University, site of the Chiefs' training camp, at 4 every morning and help Abdullah plan what to eat and drink when the sun is down to be as safe as possible when the sun is out. He eats a big meal just after sunset, and another just before sunrise. In between, he wakes up for a protein shake. Any little bit of nourishment helps.

Abdullah is working with NFL Films on a piece about his religion and football. He hasn't always liked the extra attention, but now he welcomes the opportunity to talk with teammates or others who are curious about his faith. For many of them, Abdullah is the first Muslim they've met.

If he can break down stereotypes, Abdullah is happy to do it.

He didn't know in the beginning that he was breaking stereotypes not only for Muslims but for football players in general.

The football world can be cruel on many levels. It is insular and often dismissive of those who don't devote their entire selves to the cause.

This is still a culture that promotes workdays that are longer than necessary, especially among coaches. Talking about time away from family while grinding and sometimes sleeping in the office is like a badge of honor for many. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the quarterback now with the Texans, has talked about his Harvard education being seen by some teams as a negative -- he has options outside of football.

All of which makes it remarkable that Abdullah is so plainspoken about where football fits for him.

"It can consume your life, right?" he said. "But for me, it's not like, 'This is it.' For a lot of people, when football is snatched away, it's like, 'What do I do with my life?' So, I mean, for me just to be able to know there's more to life than just football, that's very important."

Abdullah, who turned 29 Sunday, made that clear two years ago when he walked away from the sport at what should've been his athletic peak. Abdullah was with the Minnesota Vikings at the time, playing mostly on special teams, and knew that giving up football for a year might turn into giving it up forever.

But he and his brother, Hamza, then a safety for the Arizona Cardinals, took their parents to the holy city of Mecca anyway. The hajj is the Fifth Pillar of Islam, a pilgrimage that all Muslims are to make once if they have the health and wealth.

This was a life-changing decision, and those are rarely simple. Abdullah said he left football and made the hajj for a lot of reasons. He and his brother wanted to be sure their parents experienced it, too, and each felt an undeniable pull.

They could have waited until after their playing careers, but there are no guarantees. For Abdullah, in particular, he says he "yearned for" and "needed" to go. It's one thing to read about a place. It's quite another thing to see it firsthand. He says that being Muslim means submitting your will to God, and this "wasn't always my walk."

He needed to get that part of himself right.

"Now, I feel like I can call myself a Muslim," he said.

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