For an entire childhood through his four years at the local high school, Rex Burkhead made a name on the fields and courts around Plano, Texas. He earned a reputation there for wanting to play one more game. And he earned the name “Superman,” too.
Monday, Plano's city council gave Burkhead a final “special recognition” before the former Husker enters the NFL draft, especially for his work with pediatric brain cancer patient Jack Hoffman.
Mayor Phil Dyer presented Burkhead in front of the running back's parents, friends and former coaches, who packed Plano's council meeting and gave him a standing ovation.
“We've known for years he's a tremendous athlete,” Dyer said. “We're looking forward to seeing him on Sundays very soon ... but he's truly been a role model as a student and a humanitarian.”
Said Burkhead: “Plano really taught me the importance of giving back to the community, and that was something I wanted to do at Nebraska. And I had plenty of opportunities to do that. Nebraska does a great job of putting players in those positions.”
The ceremony consisted of Dyer recounting Burkhead's on-field achievements in high school and at Nebraska. Dyer also explained Burkhead's relationship with Hoffman, an 8-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient, which led to NU's Uplifting Athletes rare disease chapter and Hoffman's 69-yard touchdown run in the spring game.
The council played the touchdown run on a video screen. Dyer wore a red “Team Jack” T-shirt. In brief comments, Burkhead praised Hoffman's tenacity in fighting the disease.
“It's been an unbelievable experience just getting to know him and his family,” Burkhead said of Hoffman. “He's one of the toughest kids I know, and he's definitely put my life in perspective.”
Contact the writer:
402-202-9766, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/swmckewonOWH