Harris and Kreutz Receive Piccolo Award

The Bears have honored Brian Piccolo's memory since 1970. This year's recipients of the award are Tommie Harris and Olin Kreutz.

The honor has been given to a Bears rookie since 1970 and was expanded in 1992 to include a veteran winner. Bears players vote for the rookie and veteran who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo.

Kreutz is the first veteran to be given the award twice as well as in back-to-back years. He has been named to the Pro Bowl four consecutive years, but it's his work away from the field that has earned the award.

Harris, a first-round selection out of Oklahoma in the 2004 NFL Draft, started all 16 games for the Bears as a rookie and ranked third on the defensive line with 58 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

However, it was his work away from the field that earned him the honor. He's helped spearhead the team's "Bear Hugs" program by making an appearance at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. During his visit, Harris answered questions, signed autographs, sang and visited with several kids in their rooms.

Player fines account for a portion of the $100,000 donation the NFL made to the fund. Harris joked that the next time he jumps offside to sack the quarterback it's going to be his way of making a contribution to the fund.

"Tommie Harris is a great example of a young man that embodies the spirit of Brian Piccolo and also what it means to be a Chicago Bear," said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.

Unlike many rookies that win the award, Harris knew about Piccolo because he watched the film "Brian's Song."

Lovie Smith has plans to try to show the entire team the movie that brought Piccolo's story to the masses. The original release came out more than 30 years ago and it has since been remade.

In all, 46 different Bears have won the award including four others on the current roster: Jerry Azumah (1999), Alex Brown (2002), Charles Tillman (2003) and Brian Urlacher (2000).

Brian Piccolo joined the Bears in 1965, following a senior season at Wake Forest during which he led the nation in scoring (111 points) and rushing (1,044 yards).

Piccolo was not selected in the NFL draft, but he signed with the Bears as a free agent and made the club. He was in his fourth season when a chest x-ray revealed a malignancy. Several months later on June 16, 1970, he died at age 26 from embryonal cell carcinoma. At the time Piccolo died, the disease was 100% fatal, but today the cure rate is 95%. He left behind his wife Joy, three daughters, and legions of friends.

Proceeds from the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund benefit breast cancer research at Rush Medical Center and the Clearbrook Center for the developmentally disabled in Arlington Heights. For more information visit, www.brianpicoolofund.org

ALL-TIME BRIAN PICCOLO AWARD WINNERS (1970-2004)
1970 Glen Holloway (G)
1971 Jerry Moore (S)
1972 Jim Osborne (DT)
1973 Wally Chambers (DT)
1974 Fred Pagac (TE)
1975 Roland Harper (RB)
1976 Brian Baschnagel (WR)
1977 Ted Albrecht (T)
1978 John Skibinski (RB)
1979 Dan Hampton (DE)
1980 Bob Fisher (TE)
1981 Mike Singletary (LB)
1982 Jim McMahon (QB)
1983 Jim Covert (T)
1984 Shaun Gayle (DB)
1985 Kevin Butler (K)
1986 Neal Anderson (RB)
1987 Ron Morris (WR)
1988 James Thornton (TE)
Mickey Pruitt (LB)
1989 Trace Armstrong (DE)
1990 Mark Carrier (S)
1991 Chris Zorich (DT)
1992 Mike Singletary (LB)
Troy Auzenne (T)
1993 Tom Waddle (WR)
Myron Baker (LB)
Todd Perry (T)
1994 Shaun Gayle (S)
Raymont Harris (RB)
1995 Erik Kramer (QB)
Rashaan Salaam (RB)
1996 Chris Zorich (DT)
Bobby Engram (WR)
1997 Ryan Wetnight (TE)
John Allred (TE)
Van Hiles (S)
1998 Bobby Engram (WR)
Tony Parrish (S)
1999 Marcus Robinson (WR)
Jerry Azumah (CB)
2000 Brian Urlacher (LB)
Clyde Simmons (DE)
2001 Anthony Thomas (RB)
James Williams (T)
2002 Alex Brown (DE)
Phillip Daniels (DE)
2003 Charles Tillman (CB)
Olin Kreutz (C)
2004 Tommie Harris (DT)
Olin Kreutz (C)


Bear Report Top Stories