NEW ORLEANS -- Usama Young's failure to appear for a past court date involving a parking violation led to his arrest this week after a relatively minor traffic stop in suburban New Orleans.
Harahan Police Chief Peter Dale said officers initially pulled over Young and intended to give him a ticket, but they had to arrest him because records turned up an outstanding violation in Jefferson Parish. Sheriff's spokesman Col. John Fortunato confirmed that Young had failed to appear at a court date.
Young and his attorney, Donald "Chick" Foret, said the other citation came last year when the player was illegally parked at a cell-phone store.
"I wanted to say I sincerely apologize for doing what I did. There's no excuse for it," Young said in a telephone interview. "I ran into the AT&T store for a two- to three-minute stop to get a phone charger, and came back out and an officer was writing me a ticket. Immediately, I knew I was wrong."
Young said he also wanted to apologize specifically "to all people with disabilities or the elderly who need handicapped parking spots. I wasn't acting professionally, and you can bet that I won't do anything like that again."
Young said he forgot to pay the parking ticket and forgot about the court date, in part because he had a lot going on between the end of the 2008 NFL season and his return to Kent State University in Ohio to finish work on his degree in education.
Young was on his way home when he was pulled over by Harahan police around 3:14 a.m. on Monday.
Dale said Young was clocked at 55 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone at around 3:14 a.m. Monday and drove about a mile before pulling over.
"He wasn't belligerent. He didn't give officers any trouble," Dale said. "When he pulled over, he said he didn't know they were after him."
Still, the officers cited Young with reckless driving and fleeing police, then arrested him. He was transferred to the Jefferson Parish jail in Gretna and released on bond soon after.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said the team was aware of Young's arrest.
"We are working with him, our legal counsel and we are supporting Usama in this matter," Bensel said.
Young, 24, was a standout at Kent State and a third-round draft pick of the Saints in 2007. He spent his first two seasons as a reserve cornerback and special teams player.
This season, Young switched to free safety and has impressed coaches during training camp while competing with veteran Darren Sharper for the starting job. Sharper is expected to start, but coaches have said Young is making a strong case for playing time.
Young started in the Saints' last preseason game at Oakland and nearly made a spectacular interception, but he sprained his right shoulder on the play. He wasn't expected to play in the Saints' preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, but coaches hoped he would return for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press