LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- When the Bears took to the practice field Thursday at Halas Hall for the final day of the offseason program, every player wore No. 41 on his jersey.
Fifty-two years to the date of the great Brian Piccolo’s passing from cancer, the Bears honored his life and legacy with his family members on hand for practice.
“It’s just crazy how even when you’re gone, your legacy lives on with your kids and everything,” Bears rookie receiver Velus Jones Jr. said. “And I felt like that was a real beautiful thing. So, it was amazing to wear the 41.”
Bears coach Matt Eberflus addressed his team prior to practice Thursday and reflected on the legacy of Piccolo, a running back with the team who died on this date in 1970 at age 26 after a battle with embryonal cell carcinoma.
As Eberflus sat down to speak with reporters Thursday after practice, a trophy was present on the lectern. It was the 1969 George Halas Courage Award that was given to Gale Sayers, who then handed it over to Piccolo.
Piccolo’s friendship with Sayers was notable during a time when society was still segregated by race. The story of Piccolo was shared in the movie “Brian’s Song,” which was released in 1971.
“Just to honor the legacy and his family of Brian Piccolo,” Eberflus said. “That to me was really the main message.
“Just a real man and a real person and a Chicago Bear.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.
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