As one of the charter franchises in the NFL, the Chicago Bears have a slew of traditions that have been created over the years, and one of the most notable is the handing out of the Brian Piccolo Award.
The award, originally just for rookies but expanded to veterans in 1992, is voted on by the players and is given to the players who “best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication, and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo.” Piccolo died of cancer at age 26 in 1970, and his struggle with the disease, and his friendship with Bears running back Gale Sayers, was the subject of the film “Brian’s Song.”
This year, the award was handed out to two very deserving players, as offensive tackle Jordan Mills and former Bears back-up quarterback Josh McCown were the winners. McCown wasn’t there to accept his award at a ceremony at Halas Hall, but Jay Cutler accepted the award in his place. Mills was there, and some interesting news came out when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer stepped to the podium.
During the final game of the regular season against the Green Bay Packers, Mills started the game but was ultimately unable to finish. It was the first time that the Bears’ offensive line hadn’t been intact throughout an entire game, and if Bears fans were wondering the severity of Mills’ injury, Kromer revealed it during his remarks:
Aaron Kromer just said Jordan Mills broke his foot in pregame before the Packers game and still started. — Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 6, 2014
That’s right. Mills started the game against the Packers after breaking his foot during pregame warm-ups. That takes some serious dedication to the team, and it surely played into his teammates’ votes for the Piccolo Award. Mills has been rumored to be a candidate to have a starting position battle when training camp opens up in Bourbonnais in July, but if he approaches that challenge with the same tenacity that he did that game against the Packers, he should be just fine.