Adam Muema Resurfaces After Leaving NFL Combine for Religious Reasons

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

USA Today

The NFL Scouting Combine has seen plenty of strange stories, but this may be a first. Former San Diego State running back Adam Muema left after getting a message from God that he would play for the Seattle Seahawks.

Updates from Thursday, March 13

Muema further confirmed that he would not be playing football next season on Twitter on Thursday:

Updates from Tuesday, March 11

After not hearing much from Muema, he once again made people pay attention with this odd tweet early Tuesday morning: 

Updates from Friday, Feb. 28

U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken reports that Muema has resurfaced after disappearing following the NFL combine:

Former San Diego State running back Adam Muema has surfaced, sources said Friday, ending the week-long mystery of his whereabouts since he left the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday because of religious reasons.

Many in Muema's inner circle were concerned about his well-being. On Friday, the emotion was relief after sources said he arrived Friday morning at the Florida performance facility where he trained for the combine.

One source said he was still dressed in his combine gear.

"I know he's fine. I know he's safe," a person close to Muema said, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity. "But I don't know what happens from here. There are good people that are helping him."

Gehlken and Stefanie Loh later added more detail:

CBS Sports video producer Matt Brodsky said he and the running back were on the same Southwest flight leaving Indianapolis for Fort Lauderdale.

The plane landed in Florida at about 1:30 p.m. ET, and Brodsky said last saw Muema milling around at the baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

In a phone interview with the U-T Friday morning, Corey Nelson, a linebacker from Oklahoma who has been training with Muema in Florida since January, said Muema called him on Thursday afternoon asking for a ride from the airport.

Nelson said Muema was still wearing his NFL combine gear when he got into the car. When asked to describe Muema’s demeanor on Thursday, Nelson said the running back seemed “focused, cheerful and very wise.”

“He said he was at the airport for three days straight,” Nelson said. “He was telling me when I picked him up that God told him to stay at the airport and don’t do anything, just stay there. That’s what he did for three days straight.

“On the fourth day, he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He decided to call me.”

Updates from Wednesday, Feb. 26

U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken reports some concerning news regarding Muema:

Sources said Tuesday afternoon that Aztecs coaches haven't spoken to Muema since he left Indianapolis. Neither have others tasked with assisting the 21-year-old in the draft process.

A San Diego State spokesman did not return messages seeking comment.

“I have no idea where is,” a person close to Muema said. “(San Diego State coaches) have been trying to track him down, too. Every time they do, his phone is off. ... It's a frustrating deal.”

"It's a big mystery," said Lou Farrar, Muema's former football coach at Charter Oak High. "At this point, we just hope he's safe. As long as he's safe. That's all that really matters.”

Original Text

Per Michael Gehlken of the U-T San Diego:

Playing for Seattle is his "dream," Muema said. NFL teams are aware of the decision.

"Can't go wrong with God," Muema said.

Muema spoke Sunday in a phone interview from the Indianapolis International Airport. He was set to return to the city where he's been training for the combine. The Covina native will have the opportunity to work out for clubs at San Diego State's pro day next month.

Muema, 21, said his immediate plans are undecided.

"(God) told me to sit down, be quiet, and enjoy the peace," he said.

Muema even went so far as to change his Twitter bio to reflect that he's a member of the Seahawks and has the No. 8 jersey, per Bomani Jones:

This is without a doubt a huge risk for the Aztecs star. He had a solid career at San Diego State, but nothing he did stands out from the pack of 2014 running backs.

In three years at the school, he had 2,955 yards and 34 touchdowns on 535 carries. The 2012 season was his best, as he ran for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns, all while splitting time with Walter Kazee, who had 822 yards of his own.

Despite that success, it would have been surprising even before Sunday that Muema would get drafted at all. CBS Sports lists him as the 30th-best running back and 433rd-best prospect overall.

Muema let the cat out of the bag back in December when it came to his draft future. At the time, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller questioned the decision:

Most curious is that Muema doesn't project as a top-200 player in this year's class. I have him as a fringe player on my current big board, and it's interesting to see why the junior would be ready for the NFL when his chances of being drafted are even. Muema may want to spend the next month reconsidering his future before tweeting again about the NFL.

The fact that he skipped out on the combine at the last minute will do nothing to strengthen his draft stock. Although Muema still has SDSU's pro day ahead, the damage already may be done.