The Omaha World-Herald / AP
Jack Hoffman takes the field with the Husker football team in the fourth quarter Nebraska's spring NCAA college football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday.
A 7-year-old boy has captured the hearts of the Nebraska football community during his bout with cancer this year and the Cornhuskers decided to honor him in a way they deemed most fitting for their biggest fan.
On a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy program, the Huskers placed Jack Hoffman in a spring game, where he ran for a 69-yard touchdown, while wearing the jersey of his favorite player, running back Rex Burkhead. The 60,174 fans at Memorial Stadium cheered the entire run. When Hoffman got into the end zone, his teammates lifted him to their shoulders.
“It was a lot of emotions right at once,” Jack’s father, Andy told The Associated Press. “Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause.”
Burkhead, who is preparing for this year’s NFL draft, met Hoffman last year and quickly became the president of Hoffman’s “Team Jack” support network. With the help of Nebraska football operations director Jeff Jamrog and fullback C.J. Zimmerer, the plan to get Hoffman into a game was set in motion.
“Jack is a fighter, a strong kid,” Burkhead told The Associated Press. “To see him run around and enjoy the Husker experience, it’s a dream come true, especially for kids in the state of Nebraska. For Jack to get down here and do it, I know it made his day.”
Over the past year, Hoffman has responded well to treatment and doctors say his tumor has shrunk significantly.
“We’re very optimistic for Jack,” Andy told AP.
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