Get To Know Rex Burkhead


I feel as though the above tweet is all the explanation you need as to why I am writing this blog.

When you follow a college team and a NFL team very closely as I do (Nebraska Cornhuskers & New England Patriots) every once in awhile you get to see your collegiate athletes play for your pro team.

It’s happened a few times in recent memory for me with Alfonzo Dennard and Vincent Valentine. I am still holding out hope that Ndamukong Suh will one day go ring chasing with the Patriots.

But the greatest pleasure in having “Pro Big Red” in New England has been Rex Burkhead.

And Sunday was Burkhead’s Magnum Opus in a Patriots uniform. The man has had plenty of highlights before with he flying Elvis logo on his helmet.

This one was the sweetest, and best of all the Rex Burkhead plays. How many Husker fans who also pull for the Chiefs were heart broken from their former hero plunging the dagger into their hearts. And as a Husker fan, pulling the the Pats, in enemy territory, seeing Burkhead send the Patriots to the Super Bowl was just pure euphoria.

Burkhead actually had a pretty big impact in that game, and I figured that would be the game most fans remember him for. But I was wrong.

Against the Raiders Burkhead made lots of fans in the New England area and lots of fantasy fans around the country, if you started him…


But for those of you wanting to know more about the man known as “Sexy Rexy” to impress your friends whenever we can go back to bars, I am here to help.

A Nebraska Legend

From Plano, Texas when Nebraska use to recruit there. Rex Burkhead was the middle part of an elite three running back class run for the Huskers. First it was Roy Helu Jr. (2007-10), Burkhead (2009-12) and then Ameer Abdullah (2011-14).

What a run, take me back to those days please.

But Rex as a Husker was the epitome of a work horse back. He is currently sixth on the all time Husker rushing list with 3,329 total yards, behind only names like Heisman trophy winner Mike Rozier, Abdullah, Ahman Green, Heisman trophy winner Eric Crouch and Helu Jr.

He’s also fourth in attempts with 635 carries.

There are so many Nebraska, Burkhead memories to choose from but whenever I think of his time at Nebraska I think of the comeback against Ohio State.

Yes, Nebraska once beat Ohio State. It was actually Nebraska’s first conference win as a member of the Big Ten.

It was a monster comeback for Nebraska spear headed and capped off by two Rex Burkhead touchdowns. One to tie the game on a swing pass where he jukes a buckeye out of his shoes. And then the one to win the game with pure strength on a toss play.

Still to this day when Greg Sharpe yells, “And the Huskers have come alllllll the way back” still gives me goosebumps.

How about another three touchdown performance by Burkhead? This one coming against Kirk Cousins and Le’Veon Bell and ninth ranked Michigan State in 2011?

Yours truly was in the stands that day as the Blackshirts dismantled Cousins during what was an 11 am kick off in Lincoln. Hard to imagine Cousins struggling at such an early, mid day kick but he did.

And of course Burkhead lead the way offensively.

Or skip to about the 4 minute mark of this classic Black Friday matchup where Burkhead basically carries the entire state of Iowa a few times in the 4th quarter.

Burkhead was the definition of a hard-nosed, work horse back and that is something that will always, always, always be appreciated at Nebraska.

Team Jack

Despite all of the on field success Burkhead enjoyed at Nebraska, perhaps his biggest impact while at the school was off the field.

All of you reading this have probably seen this clip. It’s young Jack Hoffman capping off the Nebraska spring game with a touchdown run.

What some of you who don’t follow Nebraska football very closely may not know is that the relationship between Hoffman and the Huskers was brokered by Rex Burkhead.

Hoffman was diagnosed with brain cancer at a young age and served as an inspiration to Burkhead through his willingness to keep fighting and keep a positive attitude.

Together they have set up the Team Jack Foundation which has $7.5 million towards cancer research.

Last year, Jack, got to play football for the first time despite still battling the disease.

In a game against the Buffalo Bills in 2017, when the NFL allowed players to wear custom cleats for charitable causes. Burkhead donned these Team Jack cleats.

In a heartbreaking turn of events we learned this summer that Jack’s Dad, Andy Hoffman was also diagnosed with brain cancer.  Unfortunately the doctors have said that the tumor is massive and difficult to operate on. Andy Hoffman has been going through aggressive chemo and radiation treatment since August.

As if the Hoffman’s have not been through enough. Right now Team Jack could use all the support they can get, not only out of the state of Nebraska but from the entire New England region as well.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals took Burkhead in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft. And he fashioned himself into a decent role player for Cincinnati.

Burkhead was the 19th running back selected that year. Behind names like Eddie Lacy, Montee Ball, Mike Gillislee, Andre Ellington who are all no longer in the league anymore.

The Pats signed him during the 2017 off season, you could say I was content with the decision.

However I could not believe that the Patriots Pro Shop was not going to stock the jersey of the Pats biggest off season acquisition.

Don’y you worry though folks, I eventually got my Rex Burkhead jersey thanks to my wife as a birthday present, and yes I wore it with pride yesterday.

Future With the Patriots

I believe I remember seeing in the pre season that some beat writers and experts had figured that Burkhead was going to be on the chopping block. That with the hopeful second year emergence of Damien Harris would make the veteran role player expendable.

Luckily for us, they were wrong. Did this performance make Rex the next breakout superstar for New England? No it did not. He is what he is, a good role player for the Patriots who answered the call yesterday, and did his job.

But I feel as though Burkhead will always have a place on the Patriots as long as Belichick is running the show. To some teams, Burkhead isn’t very remarkable. He doesn’t have blazing 4.3 speed, he doesn’t bulldoze linebackers into the earth’s crust and he doesn’t routinely juke defenders into last week.

But he’s a reliable team player. He excels on special teams, you think Saquon or McCaffrey are doing that? He can run between the tackles with toughness or on the edge with finesse. Need him to make a tough catch on third down? You got it.

Burkhead is a jack of all trades, master of none. But he shows up to work every day and does his job and that is the purest definition of a New England Patriot.

Like I said, you might think you love Rex Burkhead as much as I do, but you just simply don’t.

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Connor Ryan (@connoryan68/@PodVerbalCommit/@YourFantasy_CGS)


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