A pair of Chicago Bears running backs earned one of the most prestigious honors the team hands out:
This award is given to a veteran and a rookie player that best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo himself. 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/l2EYZTFQYr
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 24, 2018
Tarik Cohen becomes the latest rookie to earn the Brian Piccolo award, which has been handed out to a Bears rookie since 1970. And in 1992, the award was expanded to honor a team veteran too. Benny Cunningham came away with that honor.
The award is voted on by Bears players who choose the teammate who best exemplifies courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication, and sense of humor – all characteristics owned by Piccolo, who died from embryonal cell carcinoma in 1970 at age 26.
Cohen told reporters the award means a lot.
“It just shows what my teammates think of me and that I’m really fitting in,” Cohen said, via the Bears’ official website. “That was my biggest worry coming into the NFL. You’ve been with a team for four years in college and then you’re in a whole new setting, so to see that I’m fitting in well, it means a lot.”
Cunningham said he appreciated the honor and shared a touching personal anecdote, revealing that his father died of cancer when he was going into eighth grade.
“It touches me personally,” Cunningham said. “I know what it can do to a family. But ultimately, it made me stronger, a stronger man. I had to grow up early. But [I know] what it’s like to lose someone you love.”
Recent recipients of the award include Josh Bellamy and Jordan Howard (2017), Zach Miller and Adrian Amos (2016), as well as Matt Forte and Kyle Fuller (2015).