Living… in Chicago, 1965. Gale Sayers arrives at the Chicago Bears’ facilities for training camp, when a chatty white fellow runs up and introduces himself as Brian Piccolo. Although the two of them were due to compete for playing time as running back, Piccolo doesn't stray from giving Sayers some friendly advice.
Profession… running back. The Bears draft Sayers out of the University of Kansas, and he goes on to win NFL Rookie of the Year award in 1965. His soft-spoken demeanor off the field conceals his warrior mentality. As he puts it, a true athlete, "Gets himself ready for a game mentally as well as physically because he knows those two things are all tied up together. And there’s a clock inside, and when the game starts, he’s 100% mentally and physically.”
Interests… pranks. Hell, he gets Piccolo’s rear end with the classic mashed-potatoes-and-gravy-on-the-seat trick.
Relationship Status… married to Linda, his college sweetheart. Just as Sayers is good friends with Piccolo, Linda gets on famously with Piccolo’s wife, Joy.
Challenge… recovering from a knee injury. Sentenced to a life on crutches, Brian sinks into a mild depression, uncharacteristically snapping at his wife for trying to help him open the door. Piccolo sets up a leg lift machine in Sayers’ basement and vows to help him recover, but it’s no easy task.
Personality… quiet and reserved, which can be mistaken for a surly Eeyore-ness. Sayers hates reporters, and offers two-word answers in the post-game interviews whenever possible. A few days before the Rookie of the Year banquet, he says, “I gotta give a speech? No way.” He flubs the speech. But a few years later, Piccolo is diagnosed with cancer, and it is only on his behalf that Sayers is able to get up in front of a crowd and gracefully string words together.
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