Football: Marshawn Lynch spring game cameo trumped by 7-year-old cancer patient at Nebraska

Cal fans enjoyed a fun surprise a couple weeks ago when NFL star and Berkeley alum Marshawn Lynch showed up and ran for a touchdown in the Bears’ spring game.

Well, the season’s most memorable — and touching — spring game moment took place Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old brain cancer patient from Atkinson, Neb., was given a Cornhuskers uniform and ran 69 yards for a touchdown in front of 60,174 fans at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jmisv1Spck

Nebraska star running back Rex Burkhead befriended Hoffman last year and is captain of the support group known as “Team Jack.” A Nebraska football staff member came up with the idea of giving Hoffman a┬áchance to be part of the spring game and the emotional moment became the No. 1 entry on ESPN’s “Top Plays” of the day segment.

“Jack is a fighter, a strong kid,” Burkhead said. “For Jack to get down here and do it, I know it made his day.”

“It was a lot of emotions right at once,” said Andy Hoffman, Jack’s dad. “Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause.”

Andy Hoffman said his son is on a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy regimen and that he is “doing great.” A recent MRI at Children’s Hospital in Boston showed the tumor has shrunk substantially over the past year, according to the father.

Jeff Faraudo

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Poor title Jeff. Apples and Gormet Cuisine. Could have left Lynch out of the title altogether. Using him as a reference in the story is one thing, but this Nebraska moment stands on it’s own.

    If anything, it should be done by every team in every practice (or at a minimum, once a week), not limited to scrimages – though the big crowd sure makes an impact). There is no shortage of children’s hospitals around. Imagine the moments each team could give a child (and their parents) every week, and how much it could help mature players new to programs (before they really begin charity work). With open practices, I could see scheduled “plays” like this get consistent crowds to help contribute to the child’s experience.

  • Juancho

    Bovine. My take is that each of us should find a way to give back in the name of our school and help kids in the community.

    You dont need to be a star or celebrity to be there for our youth.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Not sure what “in the name of our school” has to do with it, Juancho, but I hear you. It’s just, there is “help” a person can contribute and there are organizations in positions which can, with little effort, bring things to the table that are impossible for individuals to do.

    When I had my wife watch the Nebraska video, I told her to think of what the boys’ parents must have been feeling, seeing their suffering child have such a moment of complete joy, and I teared up quite a bit.

  • Juancho

    Were lucky to have gone to cal. What i mean by in the name of our school is repaying some of that good fortune that our alma mater gave us. In other words. Having gone to cal opens up a lot more doors than other schools. So we should have a greater urgency to help the next generation.

  • Steve W.

    Great moment for that young man, and hats off to the Nebraska staff and players for making it happen. Wow…60,000 at the Nebraska spring game. Worlds apart from Cal right now. I read somewhere that Nebraska has sold out every home game since with 60’s. Amazing, given all the cool stuff to do in Lincoln.

  • David Swartz

    I didn’t know that it was a competition. I guess that Cal had better bring two sick kids to next year’s Spring Game to trump Nebraska.

  • BlueNGold

    Did Nebraska attract 55,000 more fans to its spring game than did Cal because its football program is that good, or because there is nothing else to do there?

  • milo

    It was a nice gesture and I hope it benefits the kid.

    Otherwise, agree what does Marshawn have to do with this? Or should Cal be looking for terminally ill kids to promote things?

  • 707 Bear

    OK, I always hear the “there’s nothing to do in Lincoln” so people will obviously go to the spring game.

    Let me ask the blog this: think back to what you were doing during previous spring games. How many of you were doing “something” that was unique to the Bay Area: sailing on the Bay, hiking Mt. Tam, visiting a world class museum?

    That’s what I thought.

    60,000 went to the spring game in Nebraska because they love college football. The same can’t be said for the Bay Area fan. Heck, Stanford can’t fill their tiny stadium and they’ve been one the best teams in the country the past three years.

  • Larry

    Humm, the last time there was a spring game what was I doing?


  • 707 Bear

    Larry, you and I were there, but not many others.

    The Memorial Stadium redo was done with a flawed assumption: that the Bay Area has enough fans to support the Bears through good times and bad and pay off the 300+ million price tag.

    No problem in Nebraska. Here—we’ll see.

    Go Bears!