We decided to do a countdown to the Chicago Bears season opener on September 8th versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Thanks to one of our Twitter followers, we decided to combine the countdown with a roster preview of sorts.
We’re Brian Piccolo days until the Bears get the 2013 season going. I toyed with the idea of using a a picture of James Caan for this post, but I figured I owe it to Piccolo to let people see what he really looked like, since so many people only think of Caan when they think of Piccolo.
Piccolo’s #41 isn’t necessarily retired for his on-field accomplishments, but for what he meant to the Bears. As an undrafted free agent, he clawed his way into the starting lineup, eventually becoming the starting fullback. As a sign of the times, teammates were segregated on the road, but the Bears broke that mold as Piccolo and superstar tailback Gale Sayers roomed together and became close friends.
Piccolo was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. After a tough battle, he lost his battle with cancer in 1970 and of course became the subject of the classic film Brian’s Song.
The Bears annually present a rookie and a veteran who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo with the Brian Piccolo Award. Charles Tillman and Shea McClellin were the most recent winners.
We can’t do a Brian Piccolo post without including the touching speech that Billy Dee Williams delivers while portraying Sayers in the movie:
When you’re done drying your eyes, just remember, we’re 41 days from kickoff. Are you ready???