(WTVO/WQRF) — It’s been 50 years since Bears running back Brian Piccolo passed away from embryonal cell carcinoma, at 26 years old. Since then, the Bears have honored one of their rookies with the Brian Piccolo award in his memory. In 1992, they began honoring a veteran as well.
The 2019 award winners are current Bears running back David Montgomery and former Bears defensive lineman Nick Williams, who signed with the Detroit Lions this past March. Bears players vote on who gets the award. It honors someone who they believe best exemplifies what Piccolo showed: teamwork, sense of humor, courage, dedication and loyalty.
“It’s amazing and it’s humbling to know that me – little old me from Cincinnati, Ohio – a kid that struggled in impoverished situations and who didn’t have everything and his family didn’t have a lot of stuff and kind of just made it happen to be, have my name in the same sentence as Mr. Piccolo,” Montgomery said. “I kind of sit back and reminisce over it because it’s definitely a great honor and achievement that when I get to grow up and tell my kids one of the greatest things that’s happened to me is going to be receiving this award.”
The Bears’ charitable arm, Bears Care is launching the “All Four One” campaign, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Piccolo passing away. According to a Bears news release, the campaign will “ultimately benefit the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund and help establish a systematic approach to breast cancer screening that determines the type, frequency and follow-up necessary to improve early detection, especially for young women at high risk for the disease.”