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.