Usama Young is an inspiring ball of energy that leaves a permanent imprint of hopefulness on everyone he meets. His upbeat attitude, genuine concern for others and his unswerving commitment to being the best man he can be will take him far in life — both on and off the field.
In 2007, Usama was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Usama was a steadfast asset on special teams and defense. Usama played with the Cleveland Browns and now plays with the Oakland Raiders. They are grateful to have him on the team. He is a quick footed Defensive Back and a solid contributor on defense. In 2009, he made the transition from Cornerback to Safety. In May of 2009, he graduated from Kent State with a degree in physical education.
In 2008, Usama was selected as one out of many applicants by voters on NFL.com as the winner of the League’s “Super Ad” competition. His father, Leroi, appeared in the Super Bowl ad with him. Winning this competition was a tremendous accomplishment he will never forget, and an experience he and his father will both cherish forever.
Usama feels extremely blessed to be playing professional football. He attributes his success to his tremendous faith in God and his highly supportive family. He recognizes that a lot of kids don’t have the tremendous support he had growing up so he reaches out to them every chance he gets.
Usama is an empowering person who thrives on encouraging kids to believe in themselves. He has a special gift of seeing the very best in others and has an unyielding passion to get kids to see it within themselves.
Usama had a modest beginning growing up in the Washington, DC area as the youngest of six boys with Islamic Muslim roots. The most difficult time for Usama was when he was only four or five and his parents split up.
Usama’s mom thought it was in the boys’ best interest to live with their dad to ensure they would be raised as strong young men. His mom remained a strong and loving presence in her children’s life.
Usama initially thought it was his fault that his parents got divorced. His greatest wish at the time was that they would get back together. He wants kids to know it is never their fault and that it will work out in the long run.
Usama affectionately recalls how his parents did their very best to keep a smile on their kids’ faces. Both his parents remarried and his mom blessed Usama with a little sister who is 8 years his junior. Usama’s father became a Christian when he remarried. His mother continued her dedication to her Muslim faith, always reminding Usama to pray.
Usama’s faith is now at the center of his world. “My faith in God guides me to be my best. The night before every game, I call my father and step-mother and we pray together.”
The person Usama admires most is his dad. While Usama was attending Kent State he got a frightening phone call from his family. His father was diagnosed with cancer and was in intensive care fighting for his life. This opened Usama’s eyes and made him respect and appreciate his father even more.
Usama also admires his cousin who was tragically shot and is paralyzed from the waist down. His cousin believes there is so much to smile and be happy about in life. This cousin taught Usama that you’ve got to be strong. This will give you the resilience to endure anything life brings you. He recommends, “If you are feeling down, go out and put a smile on someone else’s face. Very quickly, you will feel better than ever and you will bless someone in the process.”
Usama takes his commitment to serve youth seriously and started the Usama Young Youth Foundation . The mission of the Foundation is mobilizing youth to work to their potential through hands-on and interactive programming that aims to strengthen youth from single-parent families and underserved communities and youth with learning disabilities through tutoring, leadership development, mentoring, and advocacy.
He loves to use the blessings he has to bless others. On his one and only day off Usama makes sure he does something for the community. This man is so busy it is no wonder that one of his favorite getaways is his cozy bed.
Usama Young is an Insightful Player® team member extraordinaire. There should be a movement afoot to make this wonderful “Young” man an iconic role model for our youth.
Instant replay of Usama’s Guiding Principles:
- Bad times will always bring something good, and things will always get better.
- Say no to boredom by staying active.
- Find your passion, give it your all, and make sure you have fun.
- Don’t let the bad things get you down. Find something to smile about, regardless of your situation.
- You can accomplish any goal you have in your heart. Never ever listen to people who tell you that you can’t. With commitment, training, and desire, any goal can be accomplished.
- If you’re feeling down, muster up the courage to keep going and put a smile on someone else’s face.
- Being positive is the only way to have a happy life. You can do this and you have it within you.
- If everything goes wrong, keep in mind it could be much worse. You may have hit a bump in the road, but you are still breathing.
- You’ve got to be strong in everything you do. Commit to building your character and you will be amazed at how strong and resilient you become.
- Surround yourself with people who are doing great things with their lives.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth.
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