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2016 Brian Piccolo Award Recipients: Rookie Jordan Howard And Veteran Josh Bellamy

Brian Piccolo Award Zooma via Flickr


Brian Piccolo Award Recipients Named

Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard and wide receiver Josh Bellamy are the recipients of the 2016 Brian Piccolo Award. Awarded to two members of the team each season, recipients of the Brian Piccolo Award best embody the characteristics of the award’s namesake; courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication, and a sense of humor.

Since 1970, the award has been given to a rookie. However, in 1992, it expanded to one rookie and one veteran. Teammates submit votes to decide the winners of the Brian Piccolo Award.

History Of Brian Piccolo

Brian Piccolo played football for the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. With 111 points and 1,044 rushing yards, Piccolo led the nation in both categories as a senior. Appropriately, he was named the ACC Player of the Year. Despite his incredible season, Brian went undrafted in the 1965 NFL Draft. That year, he tried out for the Chicago Bears as a free agent and made the team. By 1967, Piccolo had moved up from the practice squad to backup for starting tailback Gale Sayers. He became the starting fullback in 1969.

On November 16, 1969, the Bears played the Falcons in Atlanta. It was the ninth game of the season. After experiencing extreme difficulty breathing while on the field, Brian voluntarily removed himself from the game. Once the team arrived back in Chicago, he underwent a medical examination and a chest x-ray. At the time of the embryonal cell carcinoma; a rare form of testicular cancer; diagnosis, it had already spread into his chest cavity.

Next, Piccolo traveled to New York City where he underwent surgery to remove the tumor at Sloan-Kettering. In April 1970, he had his left lung and pectoral muscle removed. Just two months later, in June, Brian began experiencing chest pain. Upon readmission to the hospital, doctors determined that his cancer had spread to other organs.

Louis Brian Piccolo died on Tuesday, June 16, 1970, at the young age of 26-years-old.

The 2016 Brian Piccolo Award Recipients

Rookie Jordan Howard

Jordan Howard had the third-highest running back rating, 6.1, on Derrick Henry, 6.15, and Ezekiel Elliott, 7.09, were the only two backs with a higher rating. Howard, Indiana University, was selected with the 150th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

Howard made quite an impression during his rookie season. In fact, he set rookie rushing records with 1,313 yards and seven 100-yard games. Jordan shares a distinct team honor with Hall of Famer, Walter Payton. They are the only two players to rush for 1,300 yards and average more than five yards-per-carry in a season. Jordan began the season as third on the depth chart. Even so, he was voted to the Pro Bowl. In fact, he was the franchise’s first rookie back voted to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.

During offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ introduction, he said that everyone knows what kind of running back Jordan is. He wants everyone to know what kind of person he is.

“Everyone in this room knows what kind of running back he is, but I want to tell you about what type of kid he is. He displays what humility looks like. He had a great year and went to the Pro Bowl and was the same kid every day. The success to this point has not changed him.”

Jordan knows how much the Piccolo family means to the Chicago Bears and feels honored to be a recipient.

“I know how much the Piccolo family means to the Bears organization. I’m honored to be receiving this award. As a young player coming into the NFL, it was a big transition for me. But with the great help of my coaches and teammates, they helped me get to this point. I can’t do anything without them because football is a team sport.”

Veteran Josh Bellamy

Josh Bellamy had brief stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins before signing with the Chicago Bears. Last season, Josh appeared in all 16 games, including two starts. Bellamy had 19 receptions for 282 yards and one touchdown as well as recording five special-teams tackles in 2016. He is going to be playing his fourth season in Chicago.

Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers pointed out Bellamy’s courage while introducing him Tuesday.

“To do what he does for us on special teams, it’s a thankless job. His courage is off the charts.”

Rodgers also joked about Josh’s sense of humor and outgoing personality.

“This guy may be the only NFL player currently active that has an endorsement deal with himself. He showed up at training camp last year with a t-shirt that had his face on it and his name on it and he probably has on the socks to match today.”

Revealing that he recently watch “Brian’s Song,” the television movie that depicts the relationship between Piccolo and Sayers, Bellamy encouraged his teammates to be like Brian Piccolo.

“Brian Piccolo was a guy who had a great sense of humor. He was a great team player, a great team guy, a guy that you would want in your locker room. I encourage my teammates to be just like that. It’s a brotherhood, and these relationships you carry on through the rest of your life.”

Congratulations on receiving the 2016 Brian Piccolo Award Jordan and Josh!

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