Running back Jordan Howard and receiver/special-teamer Josh Bellamy were voted the 2016 Piccolo Award winners by their teammates.
The Piccolo Award honors a rookie and a veteran player who exhibit courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and a sense of humor. The award, which is held in the highest regard by the McCaskey family, is named after former running back Brian Piccolo, who died from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970.
The Brian Piccolo Research Fund provides support to Rush Medical Center for cancer research and the Clearbrook Center in Arlington Heights for aiding the disabled.
“I want to thank everybody from the McCaskey family, my coaches and the players and the whole organization,” said Bellamy, who first joined the Bears in 2014. “It’s an honor to win such a big award.”
Bellamy recently watched “Brian’s Song,” the movie that details Piccolo’s life and his relationship with running back Gale Sayers.
“He had a great sense of humor,” Bellamy said of Piccolo. “I watched the whole movie. Even on his road going downhill, he still kept a sense of humor. He still told Gale Sayers, ‘Hey, I’m trying to beat you Gale.’ So [the award is] a great thing. It’s a blessing.”
Howard, the Bears’ fifth-round pick in 2015, went to the Pro Bowl last year as a rookie after rushing for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns.
Howard said the award was special to him because of his own family situation. He lost his father, Reginald, to pulmonary fibrosis when he was 12. Howard has been involved in charity efforts in the name of this father since joining the Bears.
“I know how much the Piccolo family means to the Bears organization, and I’m just honored to be receiving this award,” said Howard, who mother was in attendance. “Like my father, Brian Piccolo’s legacy has lived on through Brian Piccolo cancer foundation. Since 1991, they’ve raised $8 million.
“I would just like to keep encouraging people to keep donating and to keep helping to find a cure for cancer. I just want thank everybody again for choosing me for this award.”