“Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.”—Luke 5:18
“There’s no question that Brian Piccolo’s story was amplified by the movie. And now generations later, you don’t know how many guys who ordinarily would be loath to admit that they shed a tear, will tell you at the drop of a hat, I still cry every time I see Brian’s Song,”
Brian Piccolo died at the age of 26 from cancer. The two men had their ups and downs, but they remained friends until Piccolo’s death. The Chicago Bears added two talented running backs that year. They would go on to be the first white and black roommates in the NFL. They would help each other, push each other, and get themselves through the tough times. Piccolo pushed Sayers, like Sayers pushed Piccolo, even though they had their struggles like every friendship does they had each others backs until the end. Gale Sayers when on to win the 1969 rushing title, it was a year of triumph and heart break for this friendship, while they push through Gale’s injury together, Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer.
Shortly after Piccolo began chemo Gale Sayers was awarded the George Halas Award as the league’s most courageous player. On that night Sayers gave his emotional speech which jerked the hearts of millions.
“He has the heart of a giant and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent — cancer,” Sayers told the audience. “He has the mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the word ‘courage’ 24 hours a day of his life. . . . I love Brian Piccolo, and I’d like all of you to love him, too. Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.”