Browns defensive back
In addition to helping with the Browns’ community events, Young made several appearances at schools in the area, including John Hay High School and Lakewood High School, during his first season with the team. Now in his second year, Young has continued to make an impact by participating in several toy drives and shopping events, as well as sponsoring a coat drive for children in Cleveland.
For his efforts in the community, Young was the Browns’ nominee for the 2012 Byron “Whizzer” White Award, which is presented annually by the NFL Players Association in honor of Byron White, a former professional football player who later went on to become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
“It means a lot,” Young said. “It means that people are noticing I’m a lot more than just a football player. I try to do a lot in the community. I try to lead. Getting some of the young guys out here, that’s major for me. I like to tell them, ‘Hey, I’m doing this’ or ‘I’m going to this place to volunteer. Come out.’ When they come out with me, it’s a good thing because it means they want to follow that lead. It’s big.”
Helping the community is something Young developed an appreciation for at a young age. He was quick to credit his family for instilling in him the value of helping others who are less fortunate.
“I had great parents, great older siblings that instilled those values to constantly give back, constantly be a positive example to others,” Young said. “That’s what I’m all about and the chance that I have now that I’m a professional football player, I’ve got to make the most out of all of those opportunities to give back.
“One of those is going out to talk to high school teams, talking to kids, whether they’re football players or students. I just want to tell them to make the most out of their potential. Going out to those schools, you could see that I’m really reaching them because they ask, ‘Can I get your email or can I get your number so you can mentor me?’ I take that to heart and do that on the regular. I talk to the kids and have a relationship past just going out and talking to them one time.”
Young grew up in Largo, Md., and played football at Kent State University before he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Young played on the game’s biggest stage when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV over the Indianapolis Colts.
While Young enjoys his day job, using his platform as an NFL player is more special to him.
“I’m very grateful, very grateful,” Young said of his opportunity to help others. “I thank God every day for the opportunity of being able to play football. I know that it’s short-lived, so while I play, I’ve got to make the most out of it and do the most with the name that I have as Usama Young with the Cleveland Browns.”