Brian Piccolo
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Brian Piccolo

Brian's Song

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About Him

Living… in 1965, as a rookie for the Chicago Bears. At training camp, Piccolo introduces himself to fellow rookie Gale Sayers, with whom he’ll be competing for playing time in a crowded backfield. But Piccolo is nothing if not light-hearted, telling Sayers, “Rookies gotta stick together."

Profession… running back for the Bears. In college, Piccolo was a force to be reckoned with: hell, during his senior year at Wake Forest, he led the nation in rushing yards and scoring! But in the pros, he ends up buried behind Sayers, who wins the NFL Rookie of the Year award. Still, Piccolo plays admirably when Sayers is sidelined by a knee injury, rushing for 105 yards on 14 carries in his first start.

Interests… other than football? Singing the Wake Forest fight song—loud and proud!

Relationship Status… married to Joy, a pretty young lady who laughs at all of Piccolo’s jokes. They are perfect for each other.

Challenge… making it in the pros. The Bears almost cut him his rookie year, but decide to keep him at the last second – as Coach Haas puts it, “he’s too slow, too light, but he hangs in there like a terrier." Piccolo's third, season they put him as starting fullback, out front blocking for Sayers, and he is overjoyed. At 206 pounds, he’s the skinniest fullback in the league, but he's nothing if not tenacious.

Personality… extroverted, cheerful, and friendly. Coach Halas assigns him to room with Sayers, a black man, an unusual arrangement given the racial tension of the time. But the two not only get along— they become best friends. Piccolo helps Sayers recover from his knee injury, despite the fact that a healthy Sayers means he’ll ride the pine. Piccolo’s attempt to poke fun of Sayers’ skin color leaves Sayers rolling on the floor with laughter, which is a testament to the integrity of Piccolo’s character— he couldn’t be racist even if he tried.

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