The family that stays together

About 11 years ago, distress took over the Toone family after a hard hit in the game of football.

Tim Toone, now known as Mr. Irrelevant XXXV, worried for his older brother, Chris, who was speared in the back. Chris's spleen burst and he experienced severe blood loss. It was a devastating event.

Leeann Toone, their mother, recalls holding back tears, instead going into what she called nurse mode. She's a nurse and she saw to it that her firstborn of five children received the best care.

Chris emerged just fine. He regained strength and eventually returned to the game. But there were thoughts that football wasn't meant for the Toones, let alone Tim, who was smaller in stature than his older brother. Back then, there were few thoughts that he could make it to the NFL.

But it's all different now. There aren't any thoughts of distress. These days, especially this week, the Toone family is ecstatic.

Events like Chris's injury are times when the family draws closer together. They unite. Events like this week, a happy time, have also made the family stronger.

Toone was the dead-last pick in the NFL draft, No. 255.

He became Mr. Irrelevant XXXV and a special guest of Newport Beach and Irrelevant Week.

He spent the early part of Thursday at a hangar in Tustin, where he received a tutorial and tour of the Goodyear blimp. Then it was off to Disneyland, where he was the featured guest at Toontown.

It was a fun day, made better because he spent it with his family, he said.

"I like sharing everything I can with them," Tim Toone said moments after hugging Mickey Mouse, along with his younger brother, Ben, 9. "They've been there since the beginning. They're my No. 1 fans. To be able to share this with them is awesome."

Toone immediately thought of his family when he realized he could bring guests to accompany him during Irrelevant Week.

In addition to Ben and Leeann, Toone's entourage includes his father, Steve, and younger sister Emily Buck. Buck's husband, Tanner, and their daughter, Kendal, 2, are also here. Even, Toone's agent, Brett Tessler, came for the fun.

Tanner Buck wasn't too familiar with Irrelevant Week, thinking it had started 36 years ago (it's 35) and that it was founded by Paul Salsa (it's Salata).

"I'm just along for the ride," Tanner Buck said. "I'm glad to be the in-law who gets to show up."

Thursday's rides featured the Teacups at Disneyland and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. But the NFL ride also included news that the Detroit Lions agreed to terms with Toone.

The family did their best to keep it a secret, so it could be revealed during an interview in the morning at the NFL Network studio in Los Angeles. They were hoping to create a scene from, "Jerry Maguire," when Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., breaks down in tears during a television interview when he's told of his new contract.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed for Toone, and they're hoping at least to keep that a secret until today.

It would be a surprise for Toone to cry this week. He's too happy and sharing all the good times with his family.

It's true they do share everything. They share the same beliefs, as they are with the Church of Latter Day Saints.

You won't see Toone drink alcohol this week, or ever, for that matter. During most interviews or encounters with others, Toone displays honesty. He usually looks you in the eye. He served a two-year Mormon mission in West Africa.

In a word, he's genuine.

Since he's now an NFL player that could mean many will take advantage of him.

"No, no, no," Leeann says. "He can take care of himself. He knows how to do that. He won't let that happen"

Said Tessler: "He's very genuine. With Tim, what you see is what you get. He's a real person. Guys like him are hard to find."

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