When Rahim Abdullah left Clemson in 1999 after his junior year, many wondered how he would fare in the NFL.
He ended up being selected in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, staying with the team until the 2000 season when he was released.
Abdullah's next stop was Canada, where he played in both Calgary and Edmonton. In fact in 2003, he was a member of the Grey Cup champion Eskimos.
Abdullah is now playing defensive line for the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League and one of his teammates is fellow ex-CU player T.J. Watkins, who plays fullback.
CUTigers recently caught up with Abdullah from Grand Rapids and here's what he had to say:
CUTigers: How do you look back on your three years at Clemson?
Abdullah: That was a great time. Those were some of the best moments of my life, my time at Clemson. I was speaking to T.J. Watkins about that the other day because he's up here with me in Grand Rapids. We talk about the great times we had there. It was a great school. The coaches made it a great time and the guys on the team did also.
CUTigers: What is it like having T.J. Watkins as a teammate again?
Abdullah: Yes, we played together for two years at Clemson and it's great having him up here with me. They (the coaches here in Grand Rapids) asked me about him and I told them that he was a great player at Clemson and that they wouldn't have to worry about him getting in trouble, causing problems or anything like that. It's great having him up here because we have a few guys from Wake Forest and Virginia here that we played against. It's great to be able to talk a little trash and to have someone to back you up because they played in the ACC the same time that we did.
CUTigers: How much did the South Carolina rivalry mean to you while you were at Clemson?
Abdullah: That was all about having bragging rights for a whole year. It was all about being able to dominate the other team in your state and your biggest rival. I went 3-1 against them, so every time I meet guys from South Carolina, I always make sure that I mention that to them.
CUTigers: What was your favorite memory from Clemson?
Abdullah: My favorite memory from Clemson was the overtime game we won against Duke in 1997. I got a sack in the first play of overtime and on the next play, I intercepted a ball and ran it back. Just that whole year was memorable for me. We did a lot of great things and won our last seven straight games. I had a great year. We had a great time at the Peach Bowl even though we didn't win but that win against Duke was my most memorable win at Clemson.
CUTigers: How do you look back on your two years in the NFL?
Abdullah: It was still football but the guys were a lot stronger and faster than they were in college. I look back on my time in the NFL and am disappointed because I don't think that I made the best of my time there. I was young and dumb. I did a lot of stupid things that prevented me from reaching my goals as a professional athlete in the NFL. Looking back now, I can see the mistakes I made but hindsight is 20/20. But I'm still playing football and that's what I love to do. That's one good thing about it.
Stay tuned to CUTigers.com for Part II, coming up tomorrow!
Catching Up with R. Abdullah (PART I)
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