Former Iowa State running back David Montgomery earns a prestigious honor from the Chicago Bears


Taylor Shaw/Iowa State Daily

Then-junior running back David Montgomery runs a pass at the Alamo Bowl game on Dec. 28. The Cyclones fell to the Cougars 28-26.

Sam Stuve

Former Iowa State running back and current member of the NFL’s Chicago Bears David Montgomery has earned the Chicago Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award for the 2019 season

The Brian Piccolo Award is given out to 2 players, one rookie and one veteran, out of the 53 players on the Bears’ active roster each year.

According to a Tuesday press release, “Bears players vote for teammates who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo, a Bears running back who died from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970—50 years ago Tuesday—at the age of 26.”

Montgomery was the rookie who won this award. 

Brian Piccolo was a running back for the Bears who died from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970. He played for the Bears from 1965-1969. 

In his time playing for the Bears, he developed a friendship with Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers.

Piccolo, a white man, and Sayers, an African-American, were the first interracial roommates in NFL history.

Piccolo’s battle with cancer and friendship with Sayers were told in the 1971 ABC movie titled “Brian’s Song”. 

In his rookie season for the Bears, Montgomery played in all 16 games, rushed for 886 yards and five touchdowns.

Tuesday’s press release said normally the awards ceremony are handed out at Halas Hall on the Tuesday before the NFL Draft in late April.

However, this year it was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Montgomery gave a statement to the Bears on his thoughts on receiving the award. 

“It’s a blessing to receive the Piccolo Award,” Montgomery said. “I’d like to thank the Bears organization, the Piccolo family and my teammates for making this possible. Being linked to Brian Piccolo and his legacy with the Bears is very humbling. Anytime your teammates or peers vote for you for anything, it’s a huge honor. Being a running back for the Bears with the rich history at that position makes this especially unique and I’m just very grateful.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell tweeted his thoughts on Montgomery winning this honor.