(London Daily Mail) A pair of Muslim NFL stars have sacrificed their million-dollar paychecks and quit their top-flight American football teams – to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Brothers Hamza and Husain Abdullah are at the peak of their careers, playing every week in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans at the heart of two of America’s top gridiron teams.

But in June this year, the pair broke the news to their respective coaches that they would not be available to play in the 2012 NFL season because they were taking their ailing parents on a 7,000-mile ‘road trip’ to Islam’s spiritual heartland.

Lifelong Muslims Hamza, 29, a first-team starter for the Arizona Cardinals and Husain, 27, of the Minnesota Vikings, have enjoyed highly successful careers in American football, climbing the ranks from little leagues, to high school and college football to the NFL.

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