Updated: Jul 16
Retired Super Bowl Champion, and
Devoted Philanthropist for Kids
His Radiant Spirit Lights Up the World
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.
This hardworking, kindhearted, generous, and bright young man has everything it takes to become an iconic role model for our youth.
In 2007, Usama was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Usama was a steadfast asset on special teams and defense. Usama also played with the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders. He was a quick footed Defensive Back and a solid contributor on defense. In 2009, he made the transition from Cornerback to Safety.
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 have played professional football for the Saints, the Browns, and the Raiders. 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 6 boys with Islamic Muslim roots. The most difficult time for Usama was when he was only 4 or 5 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 at the center of his world. “My faith in God guides me to be my best. The night before every game, I called my father and step-mother and we prayed 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 have blessed someone in the process.”
Even though Usama had to go through some tough times in his life, he had, and still has, a very positive upbeat attitude. Going through his parents’ split when he was so young, dealing with his father’s health, his concern for his cousin, and recovering from numerous sports injuries was frustrating, but Usama learned to work through that. His toughest experience was losing his beloved father. He is grateful for how much his father taught him, and how all these experiences have shaped him in a positive way.
Usama loves reaching out to kids because he knows they need a good influence in their lives. They don’t always listen to their parents or perhaps don't have parents who are good role models. Usama remembers how it was when he was young. If a professional athlete had ever talked to him, he would have listened, and if they had taken an interest in him, he would have been blown away. Every chance he gets, Usama loves to help kids.
Usama’s generosity is tremendous. The contributions he makes to others and the volunteer work he still does is simply stunning. Not only are kids Usama’s passion, but volunteering is something he loves as well. He did a lot of clean-up work in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. He continued with his community outreach when he played for the Browns, and the Raiders.
While playing in the NFL, he only had one day off a week. On his one day off each week, Usama made sure he did something for the community. He talked to kids at schools quite often, since this is one of his biggest passions. He loves to use the blessings he has to bless others. Sometimes the cameras followed him with the other volunteers, but that is not the least bit important to him. Usama has never volunteered for the publicity—he does it from his passion and his belief that the greatest level of fulfillment we can experience is in helping others. 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."
Even though a slew of injuries ended Usama’s NFL career, he decided to run the 2019 New York city marathon. He was inspired to sign up for the marathon because he had an opportunity to raise funds for the “Right to Play” foundation. He had concerns about how his knees would be able to sustain the 26-mile run. He had other setbacks such as plantar fasciitis and Morton’s neuroma, which creates pain on the toe. Realizing that he tells youth about stepping out of their comfort zone to do things, Young heeded his own words and was immersed in figuring out a training regimen, doing so while working around his responsibilities in NFL Player engagement.
He has worked with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together. This man is so busy it is no wonder that one of his favorite getaways is his cozy bed.
Usama’s loving philanthropic spirit is a big part of who he is. He has a highly active nonprofit foundation Believe In U (https://www.believeinu.org/). Believe In U was founded originally in 2009 as the Usama Young Youth Foundation with the goal to empower youth through mentorship and volunteering. They have contributed to numerous student athletes with their free football and cheer camps. In addition, they have taken thousands of students on college tours throughout the nation. They not only let kids know that they believe in them, but they also make sure they show them too.
Currently, Usama works as a manager in the NFL’s Player Engagement department. He loves his job because he loves to support others. He most enjoys educating the players about how powerful the NFL platform is and how they can use it to help countless lives and impact society to make this world a better place.
Usama is happily married to Gia, and they are the proud parents of two beautiful children. Usama loves being a father, and he whole-heartedly applies his loving father’s example of being a devoted parent to guide him.
Usama Young is an Insightful Player® team member extraordinaire who is a humble and endearing iconic role model for our youth.
Instant replay of Usama’s guiding principles:
1. Bad times will bring something good, and things will get better.
2. Say no to boredom by staying active.
3. Find your passion, give it your all, and make sure you have fun.
4. Don’t let the bad things get you down. Find something to smile about, regardless of your situation.
5. 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.
6. If you’re feeling down, muster up the courage to keep going 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.
7. Being positive is the only way to have a happy life. You can do this, and you have it within you.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Surround yourself with people who are doing great things with their lives.
Usama Young is a valued member of the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified and Board 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. Insightful Player® was created to transform culture to an inclusive, kinder, and more loving place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call her landline: 603-897-0610.
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