ATLANTA — Rex Burkhead had never experienced a neck injury like the one he had during the season. It forced him to miss eight games.
Burkhead said it put things in perspective, made him appreciate playing more. Now the Patriots running back is relishing the fact that he’s healthy heading into Super Bowl Sunday.
“There’s a little bit of that,” Burkhead said. “I was definitely hoping to get back and be here. The trainers and strength staff did a great job of preparing me to be in that position to be able to do so. Now I’m here just excited for this opportunity in the Super Bowl.”
The Patriots put Burkhead on injured reserve after their Week 3 loss, but he was designated to return. He scored the winning touchdown in overtime in the AFC Championship Game, running
it in from the 2 to lift the Patriots over the Chiefs. It was his second touchdown of the game and third in the playoffs after having none in the regular season.
“It was cool,” Burkhead said. “The great thing about it is now we have an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. We’re one step closer to reaching our goal.”
Burkhead shares the backfield with Sony Michel and James White. Burkhead has been used in many third-and-short situations, but he’s also been on the field for extended drives.
“It’s been a privilege to be on this team,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of growth along the way as individuals through times of adversity. We know there’s doubters out there. It brings us together as a team, kind of fuels us to go out there and compete our tails off and showcase what we have.”
Tom Brady continues to be asked about whether he would like to coach one day. It doesn’t sound as if it’s in his future, but he’s not completely ruling it out.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Who knows? I’ll never say never to anything. It’s probably unlikely at this point. I still got a little bit of playing left. We’ll figure out what happens after that.”
Brady has said he doesn’t know if he would have the patience to coach.
In the middle of Brady’s news conference, someone put a spin on “We Are The Champions.”
“We will be champions, my friend,” the person sang. Brady smiled and said, “Pretty good.”
The man was escorted out of the hotel ballroom. After the next question, Brady quipped, “You don’t want to sing your question?”