A battle looms between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots on Sunday. While former Nebraska Huskers football star Rex Burkhead will be one of the potential stars of the game, he's found inspiration from a young friend's off-field battle. Burkhead will have a few special guests at the big game in Atlanta, Georgia. That could provide him extra incentive to help New England bring home another championship.

Friendship forms in Nebraska

The friendship between Nebraska Cornhuskers player Rex Burkhead and a five-year-old named Jack Hoffman began eight years ago.

At the time, the young boy was battling a brain tumor. He continues to battle that tumor to this day and still experiences seizures.

In fact, he had a complication during the recent Patriots vs. Chiefs AFC Championship Game. While he had a seizure at halftime, Jack insisted on coming back to watch the rest of the game. He was able to see the fourth quarter and overtime. Fans who saw that part of the game realize it was Burkhead who came up with a pair of big touchdowns that helped New England win.

Just months ago, Burkhead came off the IR to start contributing for the Patriots, and he sure has.

Nebraska fans are also quite familiar with Hoffman, who had a major Huskers football moment of his own six years ago. He was able to live out a dream moment by scoring a touchdown during the team's Red-White game. That moment also won a 2013 ESPY for Best Moment in Sports that year.

Burkhead looking to capture title with Hoffman watching

Now Rex Burkhead will try to provide another memorable moment for Hoffman to experience. There was already a unique NFL prop bet involving Burkhead that he made good on. The former Huskers star and the New England Patriots are small favorites to win on Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams. Current odds favor the Patriots by 2.5 points on the spread, mostly due to bettors siding with the popular team.

That said, it's hard to ignore them as perennial favorites every time they make the Super Bowl.

Burkhead said that their relationship extends beyond exchanging pleasantries and words of encouragement or seeing each other at football games. The New England Patriots back also said they participate in various events in his hometown of Plano, Texas for Team Jack and the foundation. The goal is to raise funds for pediatric brain cancer awareness. Burkhead said the foundation raised nearly $6 million to go towards that goal.

The former Nebraska football player said when he originally met Hoffman, he believes the goal was to help provide the young boy some inspiration for tough times.

Burkhead says he believes Hoffman had that effect on him, though, as he was able to put his own life in perspective based on what the young boy was going through.

Burkhead said of Hoffman that he's a "fun kid" and that he realizes "what's going on with him, but he still enjoys life." Burkhead will try to add to that excitement and enjoyment with a memorable Super Bowl moment for his inspirational friend on Sunday.

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