Burkhead's Bengals debut presidential

Posted Apr 29, 2013

Fair to say that Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead is the first rookie in Bengals history to start his NFL career in the Oval Office.

Fair to say that Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead is the first rookie in Bengals history to start his NFL career in the Oval Office.

On Monday, a mere 48 hours after the Bengals took him in the sixth round of Saturday's NFL Draft, Burkhead and his good friend Jack Hoffman met with President Barack Obama in the pair's continuing crusade for pediatric brain cancer awareness.

As Obama shook Burkhead's hand he said, "Bengals, right?"

"He knew what was going on with the draft," Burkhead said Monday night, back home in Texas after the whirlwind same-day trip. "He asked me when camp started up and he said he had watched a couple of Hard Knocks so he felt like he knew what training camp was like. He asked me, 'What's the next step?' and I told him I had a rookie minicamp next weekend (May 9-12) and some OTAs after that."

Burkhead admitted the past 48 hours have been "a wild ride with the draft and this." But he wouldn't have missed it. He was there because of Jack, the seven-year-old he befriended nearly two years ago early in Hoffman's battle with brain cancer.

Jack wanted to meet his favorite Cornhusker and Burkhead did more than that when they met. He got Jack involved with the football team and it culminated in Jack's 69-yard touchdown run in the recent spring game. That's how the Obamas heard about Jack's plight and asked for a visit.

"It was just great to see Jack interact with the president and the knowledge the president had of the situation," Burkhead said. "He saw the touchdown on ESPN's Top Ten Plays. The visit is really going to give pediatric brain cancer more awareness and that's the goal of Jack, his family and the Nebraska football team's Uplifting Athletes chapter."

Burkhead, the 2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion, plans to bring Jack to Cincinnati at some point to meet his new football family. Meanwhile, the leader of the free world is watching.

"He told me he'd be on the lookout and wished me the best of luck," Burkhead said. "Hopefully I'll be back if we win the Super Bowl. I wish I told him that, but there just wasn't enough time."


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