Brian Piccolo Award
The Brian Piccolo Award is the prestigious honor given to a NFL Chicago Bears rookie since 1970. The award was expanded in 1992 to also include a veteran football player. The Bears players vote amongst themselves for the rookie and veteran who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo. Piccolo was a running back for the Chicago Bears from 1966 until his untimely death from embryonic cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970, at age 26.
- History 1
Award winners 2
- Brian Piccolo Award Winners 2.1
- References 3
- External links 4
Brian Piccolo went undrafted in the 1965 NFL Draft despite being named the ACC Player of the Year at Wake Forest (1964), where he led the nation with points (111) and yards rushing (1,044) as a senior. In 1965, Piccolo tried out for the Chicago Bears as a free agent and made the team. He progressed from the practice squad to the back-up of starting tailback Gale Sayers by 1967. For the 1969 season, Piccolo was named the starting fullback for the Chicago Bears.
On November 16, during the ninth game of the 1969 season in Brian's Song, starring James Caan as Piccolo.
When Piccolo died in 1970, embryonal cell carcinoma was 100 percent fatal. With advances in medicine over the years, more than 50 percent of patients with the disease are now cured.
The Brian Piccolo Award was originally awarded the same year as Piccolo's death (1970) to a Chicago Bears rookie who "best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo".
In 1990, the Chicago Bears commissioned Chicago native and artist, Tom McKee, to design and sculpt the Brian Piccolo Award that is currently awarded. Each year this bronze sculpture is given to a Bears rookie and a veteran player (since 1992).
The Brian Piccolo Award ceremony is held at Halas Hall each year, where Bears center Olin Kreutz and wide receiver Johnny Knox received the 2009 trophy. Previous award winners include Brian Urlacher (2000, 2007), Charles Tillman (2003, 2008, 2013), Tommie Harris (2004), Devin Hester (2006), Greg Olsen (2007), Matt Forte (2008). Nick Roach and Stephen Paea were the recipients of the Award in 2012, while Tillman, Shea McClellin and Julius Peppers received the Award in 2013. The following year, Jordan Mills and Josh McCown were awarded, but Jay Cutler accepted McCown's award, due to McCown joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2013 season.
Brian Piccolo Award Winners
- Biggs, Brad (2012-04-24). "Bears LB Roach wins Piccolo Award".
- Mayer, Larry (2013-04-23). "Three Bears receive prestigious Piccolo Awards".
- Mayer, Larry (2014-05-06). "Mills, McCown win Piccolo Awards".