Very cool gesture by the Chicago Bears ... the entire team wore No. 41 jerseys at practice to honor Brian Piccolo, who tragically died from cancer 52 years ago Thursday.
Piccolo -- who spent 4 seasons in the NFL (all with the Bears) -- was diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma, a form of testicular cancer, back in 1969 ... and sadly passed away at just 26 years old from the disease on June 16, 1970.
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said he thought it was important for his team to be reminded of everything Piccolo did before his death, so he brought out the jerseys for Thursday's anniversary.
"He was a really good teammate and he liked to have fun with his teammates, he liked to play practical jokes on them and stuff like that," Eberflus said of Piccolo.
Courtesy of NFL
"Just a real man and a real person and a Chicago Bear. So, I wanted to make sure they got that message."
Piccolo, an undersized fullback, ultimately gained national fame during the 1960s for his beautiful friendship with teammate Gale Sayers.
The two grew so tight during their time as Bears, Sayers actually dedicated his George S. Halas Award (given to the Most Courageous Player) to Piccolo just before his death. The gesture -- along with the duo's friendship -- was depicted in the 1971 movie "Brian's Song."
The Bears have honored Piccolo yearly with the Brian Piccolo Award -- which is given to one veteran and one rookie who best exemplify the attributes Piccolo displayed during his life.
Running back Khalil Herbert and pass rusher Robert Quinnwere this year's recipients.