Harris & Tait Win Piccolo Awards

The Bears have honored Brian Piccolo's memory since 1970. This year's recipients of the award are Chris Harris and John Tait.

"You want your organization to be represented a certain way and we take pride in having guys like these two represent our organization," said coach Lovie Smith.

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.

Harris started 13 games at free safety as a rookie and finished tied for third on the team with three interceptions. He also had 70 tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack.

"This means a lot because it is an honor voted on by my teammates," Harris said. "To be well regarded by this group of guys is pretty special."

Tait unselfishly volunteered to move from right to left tackle in order to help the offensive line improve. He started 15 games on the left side and helped the Bears cut their sack total by 35.

"I'm not sure John ever got the recognition that he should have for his play throughout the year," said offensive coordinator Ron Turner. "He's an outstanding player and the hard work that he puts into it definitely pays off in his play. He did a great job for us."

Tait also joked that playing with Ruben Brown and Olin Kreutz has improved his sense of humor and led to him winning the honor.

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.

In all, 48 different Bears have won the award including six others on the current roster: Brian Urlacher (2000), Alex Brown (2002), Charles Tillman (2003), Olin Kreutz (2003-04) and Tommie Harris (2004).

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. The fund has raised more than $5 million since 1991.

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)
2005 Chris Harris (S)
John Tait (T)


Bear Report Top Stories