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Smith, Hicks receive Brian Piccolo Award

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The award is given to a rookie and a veteran that most embody the late running back’s legacy

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears announced their annual honorees for the Brian Piccolo Award Tuesday with rookie linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Akiem Hicks being named the recipients.

As the tweet says, the award goes to the players that best exemplify Piccolo’s courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and his sense of humor.

The award is voted on by players.

Piccolo of course, is a revered player in Bears history. An undrafted rookie in 1965, Piccolo made the team and carved out a role backing up Gale Sayers. Sayers and Piccolo grew close and remained so until Piccolo succumbed to cancer in 1970. Their relationship was immortalized in the film Brian’s Song.

His jersey number, 41, was retired.

Hicks is entering his fourth year in Chicago and last year had 7.5 sacks, 12 TFL, 13 QB hits and three FFs.

Smith had five sacks, eight TFL, 121 tackles and an interception as a rookie.

Head coach Matt Nagy spoke before handing out the award and Ryan Pace will hold his annual pre-draft “say nothing” press conference later, which of course we’ll have coverage of right here.