Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Speaking of tough dudes: Rex Burkhead

·         STEVEN M. SIPPLE Lincoln Journal Star
·         Feb 27, 2019

3. Speaking of tough dudes, Rex Burkhead was in Lincoln last week for the annual Team Jack Foundation Gala, which gave me an occasion to reminisce with Ron Brown about Burkhead's career at Nebraska (2009-12).

I had forgotten Burkhead gunned five touchdown passes as a wildcat quarterback.
I had forgotten how well Burkhead tackled after a Nebraska quarterback threw an interception.
"It seemed like it was always Rex Burkhead making the tackle in that situation," said Brown, Nebraska's current director of player development and former running backs coach.
"You look at his talent and intangibles and you go, 'Why wouldn't you want that guy on your football team?'" said Brown, recalling what he used to tell NFL scouts.
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots apparently feel the same way.
Brown shared one of his favorite memories of Burkhead's time at Nebraska, a memory that demonstrates the player's selflessness. It occurred Nov. 25 of 2011 at Memorial Stadium. During the final moments of a 20-7 win against Iowa, Burkhead had 37 carries and needed just one more to set the school single-game record. Bo Pelini, Nebraska's head coach at the time, yelled toward Brown to get Burkhead in the game to set the record.
There was a problem. Burkhead didn't want to go back in the game just to set a record. He didn't want it to be about him.
"I had to literally tell him, 'If you don't get in the game, bro, you're going to get me fired,'" Brown said with a laugh. "He ran in there, took a knee and got his 38th carry. He didn't want to do it that way. I've always loved his humility."
What's more, Burkhead's faith in God and love for his family "overflow in the way he plays," Brown said.
"He's one of the most tenacious, intense players you'll ever see, but it's done out of love — not revenge, not hate — it's a love offering," Brown said. "That's what it is."

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