The award, which is voted on by the players, has been awarded annually to a rookie since 1970 and to a veteran since 1992, with the winners being the players that “best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo.”
Both Montgomery and Williams, who is now a member of the Detroit Lions, issued statements on the honor.
“It’s a blessing to receive the Piccolo Award,” Montgomery said. “I’d like to thank the Bears organization, the Piccolo family and my teammates for making this possible. Being linked to Brian Piccolo and his legacy with the Bears is very humbling. Anytime your teammates or peers vote for you for anything, it’s a huge honor. Being a running back for the Bears with the rich history at that position makes this especially unique and I’m just very grateful.”
On the field Montgomery played in all 16 games, with 8 starts, and he racked up 889 yards on the ground with 6 touchdowns, and he had 25 receptions for 185 yards and 1 more TD through the air.
Williams parlayed his career year in 2019 to a 2-year, $10 million deal in Detroit. Last season Williams had 6 sacks, 42 tackles, and 2 fumble recoveries while playing in all 16 games (5 starts).
“When I found out I was receiving the Brian Piccolo Award, it was a huge honor,” Williams said. “It exemplifies teamwork, courage, loyalty, dedication and just a sense of humor. Having a sense of humor is something that stuck with me throughout the locker room. I’ve always cracked jokes with guys and tried to look on the bright side of things. When things may not have been going our way, I tried to lift them up, especially the defensive line room. I think being a locker room guy exemplifies the award and it’s a huge honor for me to even join this list of guys. Even one of the most recent winners, Akiem Hicks, one of my good friends. I know what type of player and teammate he was. It’s just a huge honor.”
The Brian Piccolo Awards are usually presented on the Tuesday before the NFL Draft, but the coronavirus pandemic led the Bears to postpone the announcement until today, the 50th anniversary of the day that Piccolo lost his battle with cancer at just 26-years old.
Since 1970, the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund “has committed more than $8.3 million to the development of improved diagnostic tools and more effective treatments.”
Part of today’s Bears’ announcement contained information about the All Four One campaign, so named in honor of Piccolo’s retired #41 jersey.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Piccolo’s passing, Bears Care is launching the “All Four One” campaign, which will ultimately benefit the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund and help establish a systematic approach to breast cancer screening that determines the type, frequency and follow-up necessary to improve early detection, especially for young women at high risk for the disease. Donors who contribute at a $60 level or above will receive a limited-edition reprint of the book “A Short Season” that Chicago sportscaster Jeannie Morris wrote about Piccolo in 1971 shortly after his death.