I have previously shared how the Bears came to be my team, but today’s focus is on my favourite player. One from left field. The one who doesn’t, hasn’t, and probably never will play for your team… The ‘guilty pleasure’ of players if you will.
The one who you know you shouldn’t really root for…
… but it’s the one player you seem to keep an eye out for on a weekly basis. That player for me is Rex Burkhead, current Running Back with the New England Patriots. Rex scored the winning touchdown that saw the Patriots win the AFC Championship game in overtime.
Why Rex Burkhead?
So how did I end up a fan of a Patriots player and why is Rex Burkhead a ‘guilty pleasure’? Well, in order to find this out we need to go back into his football career before he was part of the big leagues.
Burkhead was drafted by the Bengals in the 6th round of the NFL draft in 2013 from the Nebraska Huskers and it was while Rex was a Cornhusker at college that I became aware of him as a player.
I was visiting friends in Nebraska in 2009 and this was where, I was introduced to College Football. Burkhead played 9 games that season as a Freshman, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I became a fan. This time I went back to Nebraska and took a tour of Memorial Stadium. I used my English ‘charm’ to get a more in-depth look at the facilities and saw life behind the scenes.
Upon entering the gym, one or two players were doing some unscheduled pre-season work. We kept quiet and watched them train. After training, one player stopped and acknowledged our presence. The guide explained it was Burkhead who at the time was backup for senior RB Roy Helu, and they hoped he would fill his shoes.
Not only did he fulfil that but he went on to be the starting Running Back, rushing 1357 yards on 284 carries with 15 touchdowns. He was even named in the All Big-Ten selection and considered the 9th most impressive running back prospect in the 2013 draft.
I’ve always kept an eye on his career
I was thrilled to see that Rex made the big leagues and had been selected by the Bengals, before signing with the Patriots. I keep an eye on his progress, trying to watch games if I can and even cheering him on (except when he plays the Bears).
It feels a bit weird to be cheering on a player from another team but ‘fate’ (or whatever you want to call it) made me a fan that day. He may be a Super Bowl champion, but Rex Burkhead will always be a Husker.
Whenever the Pats are on TV, I wear my no. 22 Huskers shirt, wearing his name as a sign of support, the shirt as a reminder of a great day but also as sign of solidarity as a Bears fan, I couldn’t quite bring myself to wear another NFL shirt, let alone a Patriot’s shirt!
This guest article was written by Chicago Bears fan, Lindsey Jepson.
Photo copyright: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports