CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Muhsin Muhammad is widely recognized as an All-Pro wide receiver who played in a Super Bowl with both the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears. Known for his nickname, “Moose,” and signature touchdown dance, Muhammad evolved into a successful businessman who co-founded an investment firm following his productive NFL career.
Muhsin Muhammad’s college career
Born Melvin Campbell on May 5, 1973, his name was changed after his father converted to Islam when Muhammad was just 4 years old. The Lansing, Michigan native attended Waverly High School where he was an all-state linebacker and running back.
Muhammad accepted a full scholarship to play football at nearby Michigan State and made the move to wide receiver upon his arrival in East Lansing. His first two seasons with the Spartans would be unspectacular as the wideout combined for just 112 yards on nine catches.
Meanwhile, Muhammad found himself in some off-the-field trouble.
After being pulled over by law enforcement for a routine traffic stop, a loaded .38-caliber gun was found in his glove compartment. Already on probation for possession of cannabis, Muhammad was arrested and sentenced to 90 days for violating his probation.
Just prior to Muhammad’s senior season, Michigan State hired Nick Saban to be its next head coach and while many on the outside expected the young coach to cut ties with the troubled wide receiver, the legendary coach gave him another chance.
“It was early on in (Saban’s) career and there was a lot of controversy surrounding the decision that he made,” Muhammad told NBCSports years later. “He stood up to that and defended it. It worked itself out.
“He evaluated my character and thought I was deserving of a second opportunity. I’m grateful for that, and Nick is probably grateful too that I didn’t make him look bad.”
That life-altering moment came back to the forefront in 2014 when Saban talked about the importance of giving people a second chance during a press conference and used Muhammad as a prime example.
As great of a coach as he is, I honestly wonder if we’re wasting Nick Saban on football. Guy absolutely kills it when he talks about larger societal issues. pic.twitter.com/qsdxwera2n
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 26, 2019
Saban’s speech about Muhammad went viral and that decision nearly 30 years ago led to a breakout season for the Spartans in 1995. Muhammad caught 50 passes for 867 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan State posted its first winning record in five seasons.
Muhsin Muhammad’s NFL career
The Carolina Panthers selected Muhammad in the second round (43rd overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft. After a pair of unproductive seasons to begin his NFL career, Muhammad became a starter in 1998 and led the Panthers with 68 catches for 941 yards and six touchdowns. He would then eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in each of the next two seasons, including 1999 when he caught 96 passes for 1,253 yards, eight touchdowns and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
📽️ 4.20.1996 – The Carolina Panthers drafted WR Muhsin Muhammad in the 2nd-Round (43rd overall) of the '96 Draft. #Moose was an absolute stud who played 11 years with the Panthers & was All-Pro in 2004. #TBT #NFLDraft #PanthersRewind #KeepPounding pic.twitter.com/SGrMfjHrwC
— Panthers Rewind (@PanthersRewind) April 29, 2021
After missing much of the 2001 NFL season due to injury before a forgettable 2002 campaign (63 catches, 823 yards, three touchdowns), Muhammad played a major role in the Panthers’ Super Bowl run during the 2003 season. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver caught 54 passes for 837 yards and three touchdowns on the season and although Carolina lost to the New England Patriots, 32-29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII, Muhammad recorded the longest touchdown reception (85 yards) in Super Bowl history.
Super Bowl 55 is tomorrow! Relive this moment made by a Spartan Dawg 🏆
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) February 6, 2021
That set the stage for Muhammad’s best season as a pro. He led the NFL with a career-high 1,405 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns in 2004, earning him his second Pro Bowl invitation and first All-Pro nod. By the end of the season, Muhammad held many of the Panthers’ receiving records, including most career catches (578), receiving yards (7,751) and 100-yard games (26).
However, Muhammad and the Panthers could not agree on a contract at the conclusion of the 2004 season and the team released him in February 2005. Just hours after his release, the Chicago Bears offered the then-32-year-old a six-year contract.
Muhammad became the Bears’ top receiving threat in 2005, but with the inconsistent play of rookie quarterback Kyle Orton, the All-Pro WR caught just 64 passes for 750 yards and four touchdowns in his first season in Chicago.
Rex Grossman helped Muhammad have a better campaign in 2006 but before long, the veteran wide receiver found himself defending his QB to the media due to poor play. Muhammad played all 16 games that season as the Bears finished 13-3 and as NFC North champions. After an overtime win against the Seattle Seahawks (Chicago’s first playoff win in over a decade) and a beatdown of the New Orleans Saints in the conference title game, Muhammad would appear in his second Super Bowl, this time with the Bears.
Muhammad scored a first-quarter touchdown – becoming just one of three players in NFL history to have scored touchdowns for two different teams in the Super Bowl – to give Chicago a 14-6 lead early, but the Bears failed to score another touchdown the rest of the way as Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI, 29-17.
— The D Zone (@TheD_Zone) March 22, 2020
The next season would be Muhammad’s final year in Chicago as he struggled with age and the Bears finished just 7-9. After leaving the franchise, Muhammad told Sports Illustrated that Chicago is “where wide receivers go to die.”
Just nine days after being released by the Bears, Muhammad returned to his former team, the Panthers, on a two-year deal. While playing against the Bears on Sept. 14, 2008, Muhammad became the 29th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. He finished the season with 923 yards and five touchdowns on 65 catches before his final NFL season in 2009.
After catching 53 passes for 581 yards and a touchdown in 2009, Muhammad retired from football and put a cap on his 14-year NFL career that saw him amass 860 career receptions for 11,438 yards and 62 touchdowns.
MOOSE!!! One of the most underrated WRs of the late ‘90s and 2000s.
— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) May 5, 2019
Where is Muhsin Muhammad now?
Muhammad began planning for his post-football life while still in the NFL. During his second stint with the Panthers, he co-founded Axum Capital Partners, an investment firm that specializes in providing capital to food and beverage establishments. Muhammad is the managing director of Axum and his responsibilities include deal sourcing, investment selection and portfolio management.
Axum acquired Wild Wing Café – a chain of buffalo wing sports bars that spans several states – after being in business for just a few years.
Muhammad is married to his wife, Christa, and the couple has four daughters and two sons, including two children who the family adopted from Ethiopia in 2007.
One of Muhammad’s sons – Muhsin Muhammad III, who also goes by “Moose” – currently is a sophomore wide receiver at Texas A&M. It appears the apple doesn’t fall far from the Muhammad family tree.
Ridiculous catch by Moose Muhammad, the son of former Panthers/Bears WR Muhsin Muhammad pic.twitter.com/ApvHGa6yJI
— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) October 9, 2022