Arab American defensive tackle takes game to the NFL
By Nick Meyer | Friday, 05.29.2009, 06:58 PM

He began his college career as the only Palestinian player to ever play Division-I football, and now former Ohio State defensive tackle Nader Abdallah is taking his game to the next level.

Jacksonville Jaguar Nader Abdallah

Abdallah, an undrafted free agent following last month's NFL Draft in New York, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the team's coaches saw him in a tryout. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"Having an NFL contract couldn't be better right now," said Abdallah about his new professional career.

"I love it down here (in Florida), the defensive coordinator (Mel Tucker) used to coach at Ohio State and the general manager (Gene Smith) is an Ohio guy."

Abdallah, a Louisiana native who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 289 pounds, had 53 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery at Ohio State during his career. His biggest strength on the football field is his power, which enables him to stop opposing teams' rushing plays.

While many kids dream of playing in the NFL, Abdallah had different thoughts in his head growing up.

"Actually it wasn't my dream to always play in the NFL. I was working in my father's grocery store since I was 6 years old.

"I didn't start playing football until I was a junior in high school."

Abdallah knows he'll have to step up his game to earn playing time for the Jaguars, but he welcomes the challenge of going against tougher opponents on the offensive side of the ball and the challenge of continuing to grow into a well-rounded professional football player.

"The talent is definitely better, just guys who are more technically sound and definitely are bigger on the offensive line."

Abdallah also recently got engaged and couldn't be happier with the way things are going.

"This is definitely a great time in my life," he said. "I am definitely blessed."

By Nick Meyer

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