No. 22 Jack Hoffman, No. 31 C.J. Zimmerer, and No. 1 Curt Tomasevicz.
By Randy York
Two national, even global celebrities will participate in Saturday’s, April 12th Red/White Spring Football Game at Memorial Stadium – 3-time Olympic Bobsledder and former Husker walk-on Curt Tomasevicz and Jack Hoffman, the brave little hero who will return after setting a 69-yard Nebraska Spring Game touchdown record last year. Tomasevicz will lead adults in a drug-free halftime pledge. Hoffman and C.J. Zimmerer, the former Husker fullback who led the “blocking” on Jack’s record run and was the first to hoist him into the air, will work together on the field again. They will lead the kids in their halftime drug-free pledge. Nebraska Ticket Office officials said 44,000 seats have been pre-sold for the Spring Game. Kickoff is 2 p.m. next Saturday, five hours before the game will be televised on a delayed basis on the Big Ten Network.
Tomasevicz, who won a Gold Medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics and a Bronze Medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics, received a standing ovationfrom a Nebraska basketball sellout crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena shortly after returning from the Olympics a month ago. Hoffman’s run not only delivered 8.33 million views on YouTube, but also won ESPY Award for the “Biggest Moment” in spots in 2013.
Zimmerer may not carry the same name recognition as an Olympic Gold Medalist or an ESPY Award Winner, but he carries the same stature in Ron Brown’s mind. “C.J. was not an All-American and was not an NFL draft pick,” Brown said. “He’s none of that. But he is a guy who leads through tremendous example off the field, and all of the things he’s done and is still doing translate on the field.”
Zimmerer Battled His Own Health Issues Daily
“Any athlete around that guy or anybody else around him who looks at what he went through and sees how he’s dealt with Type 1 Diabetes in his life, has to be inspired,” Brown said. “He goes through all of that every day and then pours his gut into a whole bunch of kids and a whole bunch of other people. He’s remarkable. How could you not, if you’re an athlete around him say: ‘There’s something about that guy that’s so special. I want to have what he has, so I can be an even better athlete and a better person.’”
Brown says Zimmerer’s influence is wide-reaching. “C.J. doesn’t just inspire off-the-field activities. He inspires excellence and demands it on the field,” Brown said. “Because of the way C.J. lives off the field, plus all the things he does with Uplifting Athletes, he has the same way to hold people accountable on the field while he’s playing fullback.”
Brown: C.J. Uplifting for Everyone around Him
“You see the consistency in his life,” Brown said. “You look at a guy like that and don’t see a lot of fanfare there. He’s an unsung hero, but boy, that’s what’s first. That’s what really truly should reign and take precedence. That’s what turns the definition of success in this world upside down on its head. He’s uplifting. He inspires kids, teammates and everyone around him.” Brown knows accolades are not Zimmerer goals, but now that he’s working as an Omaha probation officer, C.J. deserves appreciation and yes, even applause, for all the right reasons. He’s helping kids in every way he can, personally, professionally and passionately.
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