Rex Burkhead (born July 2, 1990) is an American football running back for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Nebraska and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Early years

Burkhead was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but was raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. He attended Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas, where he played high school football for the Wildcats. As a junior, he rushed for 1,762 yards and 28 touchdowns, leading the school to a state semifinal appearance in the Texas 5-A football playoffs. He earned first-team all-district honors in basketball as a junior and senior, and as a freshman he was part of Class 5A state championship basketball team.

College career

As a freshman at the University of Nebraska in 2009, Burkhead played in nine games, rushing for 346 yards on 81 carries with three touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2010, Burkhead was second on the depth chart behind senior Roy Helu. Burkhead played in all 14 games as the backup, and rushed for 951 yards on 172 carries and seven touchdowns. In 2011, Burkhead took over as the starting running back as a junior. Nebraska had little experience at running back that season, and Burkhead got the majority of the carries, including a school record 38 carries against the Iowa Hawkeyes. [3] He ended up rushing for 1,357 yards on 284 carries with 15 touchdowns and was named a first team All-Big Ten selection. [4] In 2012, with expectations high, Burkhead sprained his knee in the season opener and missed two games before re-injuring the knee four games later. [5] Burkhead missed six games total in the season, but still finished with five touchdowns and 675 yards on just 98 carries for a 6.9 yard average. [6]

He was considered the ninth or tenth best running back prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft in the top 150 overall. [7] [12]

He graduated from Nebraska in three-and-a-half years with bachelor's degree in history. He earned repeated scholar-athlete awards throughout his career, including first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2011 and 2012, and recognition as one of 15 National Football Foundation Scholar Athletes in 2012. [2]

College statistics

Rushing Receiving
YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD
2009 81 349 4.3 34 3 11 92 8.4 24 1
2010 172 951 5.5 33 7 15 148 9.9 31 0
2011 284 1,357 4.8 52 15 21 177 8.4 30 2
2012 98 675 6.9 73 5 11 92 8.4 25 2
Career 635 3,329 5.2 73 30 60 507 8.5 31 5

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40‑yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20‑ss 3‑cone Vert jump Broad BP
5 ft 10 in
(1.78 m)
214 lb
(97 kg)
4.73 s 1.63 s 2.73 s 4.09 s 6.85 s 39 in
(0.99 m)
10 ft 5 in
(3.18 m)
21 reps
All values from NFL Combine

Cincinnati Bengals

After being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 190th overall pick, Burkhead signed with the team on May 13, 2013.

2013 season

He played in all four preseason games, rushing 28 times for 130 yards with one touchdown, and five receptions for 39 yards. However, plagued by a hamstring injury all season, he was active for only one of the team's 16 games, making his NFL debut on November 10 playing on special teams in a 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. [9]

2014 season

In 2014, Burkhead played in nine games for the Bengals, mainly on special teams. On offense, he had nine rushes for 27 yards and his first career touchdown (against the Cleveland Browns) and seven receptions for 49 yards. He had the most productive game of his career in the Bengals' opening round playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, in which Burkhead started at wide receiver and totaled three receptions for 34 yards and one rush for 23 yards. [10]

2015 season

Burkhead played in all 16 regular season games for the Bengals, seeing action primarily on special teams. As a running back, he rushed four times for four yards, while catching 10 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

2016 season

Burkhead appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Bengals, including one start at running back. With regular playing time on offense, he rushed 74 times for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 145 yards. In the Bengals' Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens, Burkhead carried the ball 27 times for 119 yards. [9]

New England Patriots

On March 14, 2017, Burkhead signed a one year contract with the New England Patriots worth up to $3.15 million. [3] [3]

2017 season

On September 7, on Thursday Night Football , Burkhead made his debut as a member of the Patriots. He was in the starting lineup and had three rushes for 15 yards and one reception for eight yards in the 42–27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. [3] On September 17, against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, he recorded his first touchdown as a member of the Patriots when he hauled in a 19-yard pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter of the 36–20 victory. He finished the game with three receptions for 41 yards. [3] On November 12, 2017 during week 10 against the Denver Broncos, Burkhead had 10 rushes for 36 yards, 3 receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown, and a blocked punt.

Personal life

Burkhead's wife is named Danielle. Burkhead was the 2012 winner of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award. He was awarded for his work with a 6-year-old suffering from a rare pediatric brain tumor called a low-grade glioma. [3] Burkhead’s commitment to community service has been personified by his friendship with that child, Jack Hoffman, a cancer patient from Atkinson, Nebraska. Jack contacted Nebraska in 2011, asking for a Burkhead photo. Burkhead offered to meet Jack, and his involvement in their relationship led to national notice when he arranged for Jack to suit up in a Cornhusker uniform and “run for a touchdown” in the 2013 Nebraska spring football game before a crowd of more than 60,000. President Barack Obama responded by inviting Jack and his family to the White House, and the family included Burkhead in its party. In honor of Jack Hoffman, Burkhead launched the Team Jack Foundation.