Former safety Hamza Abdullah goes on long Twitter rant against NFL, references thoughts of suicide

For four seasons, I covered Hamza Abdullah in Denver. He was friendly, smart, and I can't remember seeing him get angry. My interactions with him were the limited ones between player and reporter, but he was always calm.

That's why Abdullah's rant against the NFL from his verified Twitter account, cussing the league repeatedly for not caring more about players' well being, was so shocking. The former NFL safety talked about death and whether his family would be better off without him, and feared the thoughts that creep into his head. He implied that he has had suicidal thoughts.

Knowing Abdullah's mellow public demeanor, his raw anger put a very harsh light on the issue of player safety and their well being in retirement.

A lot of Abdullah's string of angry messages had expletives, but here's an edited excerpt (the first post about the NFL is at the bottom, and continues by scrolling up):

Abdullah also cussed NFL commisisoner Roger Goodell and the NFL Players Association.

Abdullah broke in with the Broncos and played for them from 2005-08, and played with the Cardinals from 2009-2011. He talked about two incidents, both in 2007, in which he was knocked out. He said the first time, "they said I lost my contact." The second time he was knocked out, less than a month later, "they said I got poked in the eye!" He had another angry tweet about the NFL misdiagnosing injuries. He said the reason players cover up injuries is because their contracts aren't guaranteed.

Abdullah said all players should see a psychiatrist once a week after leaving the game, and he shouldn't have to pay $120 a week to "save my (expletive) life," that the NFL should pay for it.

The most frightening part of his Twitter messages came when he talked about thoughts of death. He said "How many former players have to kill themselves before you guys (expletive) realize, that they're pushing us to it."

We've seen and read enough stories of long-term brain injuries and former players having personality changes after leaving the game to know it's not an issue that will go away, just because the NFL settled the concussion lawsuits earlier this year. Abdullah just turned 30 years old. Most of his life is still ahead of him.

Former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita said Abdullah isn't alone in his thoughts:

Seeing these thoughts from Abdullah, and knowing how uncharacteristic those messages seem from the cheerful player I covered years ago, should make everyone wonder how many former players are dealing with the same kind of strife and dark thoughts after leaving the game, and how the NFL can do more to help them.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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