The story of Adam Muema, the San Diego State running back who left the NFL Combine because he believed God told him to, then spent three days at the airport, somehow manages to take even more unexpected turns.
It seems that Muema attended a Catholic Mass in Indianapolis before the Combine. There, a series of coincidences, combined with Muema's belief in numerology and the assurances of an internet figure who claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, served to convince him that he would be drafted by the Seahawks—but only if he skipped the Combine.
The L.A. Times catches up with the priest who celebrated that Mass. Father Jim Baraniak says that during the service, he noted that Muema was the first athlete to attend in the event's eight-year history. The number eight holds special significance to Muema, who has made references to so-called "Angel numbers"—numbers which believers hold reoccur disproportionately, as messages from a divine or mystical source.
That mention of the number eight at the Mass was a sign to Muema. But why the Seahawks? The program for the service said Seattle GM John Schneider would be speaking. Schneider did not actually show up—Joe Lombardi and Jack Del Rio spoke instead—but Muema apparently did not realize.
In an Instagram post four days ago, he wrote:
Okay here's is the Seahawks #8 story. I was given #8 the first time playing football started to love this number. I was wondering if I could be 8 in the NFL & he said go to the store to decorate your living space. Went to the Christian store lady says when did that get in & didn't let her grab it & said it was for me. Later, I ditch the combine to go to the saturday service & speaker was GM for Seahawks. I was honored by the Rev for being the 1st out of 8 yrs to go to this service, I cried :) If I would of performed that day I would of missed that meaningful #8. Glory be to God. Keep calling them coincidences if you want to.
Muema became convinced that God was sending him a message: Leave the Combine, and the defending champions will draft you. He has already changed his Twitter profile to read "Seahawks #8." And based on a video posted to his Instagram yesterday, it seems he has apparently purchased a bunch of Seahawks gear to decorate his home:
More of Muema's belief system can be found on his Twitter account, where he makes frequent reference to Lord RayEl. Born Raymond Elwood, RayEl declared himself the Messiah three years ago, and communicates with his followers mostly through YouTube videos (and accepts donations at his website). It is clear, from Muema's tweets dating back months (but increasing in frequency in recent weeks), that Muema believes RayEl is God.
RayEl acknowledged Muema for the first time in a tweet this past Friday and claimed that Muema's actions are the fulfillment of a prophecy. A bizarre YouTube video spells out how a numeric code hidden in the Bible ("equidistant letter sequences") predicted that an "Adam M." would bring RayEl's message to the world in February 2014.
Muema believes that this signifies he himself is a prophet, and in a series of tweets he claimed he could predict natural disasters.
Muema has been dropped by his agent, and the projected mid- to late-round draft pick, having skipped the Combine, is unlikely to be selected without participating in SDSU's March 19 pro day, which he also believes he needs to skip to fulfill the Seahawks prophecy. In a brief statement, San Diego State said coaches have restored contact with him, but it's clear that Muema isn't looking for help.