Abdullah to return for senior season

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah has decided getting an education outweighs the NFL at this point. After running for almost 1,700 yards this season, Abdullah will return for his senior year.

LINCOLN, Neb. - With National Signing Day just a few weeks away, on Thursday Nebraska got their biggest commitment news of the year. It came in the form of one of their current players.

Running back Ameer Abdullah, who's future has been talked about at length among Huskers fans, has decided to return for his senior season.

Abdullah released a statement just after 3 p.m. central time through the Nebraska media relations office.

"I would like to start off by thanking everyone for their patience as I reached this decision. I cannot begin to tell you how truly thankful I am for the Husker coaching staff, my teammates, and the Nebraska fans. My time here at Nebraska has been memorable and more than I could have ever hoped. It is truly an honor to play for this program.

As you know, since the midway point the season I have been asked, repeatedly, whether I would return for my senior season. In reaching my decision I have had to consider a number of factors such as my family's economic condition, my projected draft position, and my long term success, not just in football, but in life in general. In order to fully understand my decision one must know who I am and where I come from.

I come from a very modest upbringing. As the youngest of my parents' nine children, I have had to fight for just about everything I have gotten. Despite these apparent obstacles, my parents were able to instill in their children the importance of family, education, and taking advantage of life's many opportunities.

In holding true to these values, all of my siblings have completed their college education with many of them even going on to obtain advanced degrees. Despite my family's tradition of completing its college education, I find myself in a very unique situation of having to decide between pursuing my dream of playing in the National Football League and breaking from my family's tradition of completing our education.

While it may be true that none of my siblings were presented with the possibility of playing professional sports, it is equally true that the average NFL career, because of the violent nature of the sport, is less than five years. In analyzing these truths, I have come to realize that life is bigger than football, and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education. Although I have always wanted to play in the NFL, at this time I would like to formally announce my intentions of returning to Nebraska for my senior season.

If playing in the NFL is truly in God's plans for me, then God will again present this opportunity to me after I complete my college education."

Abdullah, who rushed for 1,690 yards this season, ended up finishing fourth on the single-season rushing list at Nebraska after a 122 yard performance against Georgia. Abdullah finishes the season with 11 games rushing for over 100 yards. It tied Mike Rozier, Lawrence Phillips, and Ahman Green for a school record.

"I know Ameer was very thoughtful about his decision and, as you would expect with Ameer, he has handled this the right way," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini in a statement. "As I have told Ameer and other players who have had to make this same choice, I fully support whatever decision they make, and am willing to help in any way I possibly can.

"Ameer comes from a great family, has great character and is a great leader in our program. He stands for all the right things as a student-athlete, and I know it is important for him to leave the University of Nebraska with a degree."

With a little over 1,800 yards next season, Abdullah would become Nebraska's all-time career rushing leader, a record by former Heisman trophy winner Mike Rozier, many thought would never be broken.

"We look forward to having Ameer represent the Nebraska football program for another season," said Pelini. "Ameer has the opportunity to leave a legacy at Nebraska that will put him among the all-time greats to play here. He is a young man that is deserving of being a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and other national awards in 2014."

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Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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