Making an Impression

Darnell Mooney made a first impression on Bears teammates
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Darnell Mooney made a strong first impression on teammates.

Allen Robinson made an impression on Mooney.

While Mooney talked about Robinson on Monday, Robinson talked about the  importance of the relationship between former Bears Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. 

Mooney was named the rookie winner of the Brian Piccolo Award and Robinson the veteran winner after a vote of the team. The award is given annually to a rookie and a veteran who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970 after playing for the Bears from 1966-69.

Piccolo and his friendship with Sayers were the basis for the Emmy Award-winning movie Brian's Song.

"First, I think, the importance of the award and the impact of the award is not only it being voted by your peers and your teammates and people within the organization, but also Brian Piccolo, him becoming best friends with a person like Gale Sayers way back when interracial friendships and things like that were very uncommon," Robinson said after accepting the award. "So to see those guys put their differences aside and become best friends, I think that’s very impactful. 

"When you look at the grand scheme of things when it comes to sports, when it comes to life, when it comes to everything, two people being able to put whatever kind of background or history or whatever that they were brought up in to really hone in on one another and really grow to become great friends.”

Last season Robinson battled through a contract situation and a Pro Bowl snubbing, yet hauled in a career-high 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns. The 1,250 yards tied for the second most in Bears history.

Mooney made his Bears history with a 61-catch season, the most receptions by a Chicago rookie.

After getting his award, Mooney marveled at Robinson's talk about Piccolo and Sayers.

"Just shows another great thing he’s been able to do," Mooney said. "He amazes me every time he does something. Even when he was just talking in here, like it was just crazy, the good answers he was giving and how knowledgeable he was. Every day he amazes me and adds a little bit more not just to my game but to me as a person. 

"I mean, I’ve been watching from afar, all that situation, I feel like that’s just a part of it. But he did a good job of just being able to set all of those things aside. It wasn’t in his control. He was able to play ball. He had an outstanding year. It was a crazy year, and I’ll feel like he’ll have another one this year. "

Piccolo's wife, Joy, and their daughters Lori, Kristi and Traci attended the ceremony. The McCaskey ownership family presented a check for $50,000 to fund research to the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.

Initially the fund went to raise money for research on the cancer Piccolo died from, embryonal cell carcinoma. That cancer is now more than 95% curable. So the proceeds now go to fund research into the battle against breast cancer.

They have raised over $9.9 million for breast cancer research since 1991.

Brian Piccolo Award Winners

2020 Darnell Mooney (r) WR

          Allen Robinson (v) WR

2019 David Montgomery (r) RB

         Nick Williams (v) DT

2018 Roquan Smith (r) LB

          Akiem Hicks (v) DL

2017 Tarik Cohen (r) RB

         Benny Cunningham (v) RB

2016 Jordan Howard (r) RB

         Josh Bellamy (v) WR/ST

2015 Adrian Amos (r) S

          Zach Miller (v) TE

2014 Kyle Fuller (r) CB

          Matt Forte (v) RB

2013 Jordan Mills (r) T

         Josh McCown (v) QB

2012 Shea McClellin (r) DE

         Charles Tillman (v) CB

         Julius Peppers (v) DE

2011 Stephen Paea (r) DT

         Nick Roach (v) LB

2010 J'Marcus Webb (r) T

          Anthony Adams (v) DT

2009 Johnny Knox (r) WR

          Olin Kreutz (v) C

2008 Matt Forte (r) RB

         Charles Tillman (v) CB

2007 Greg Olsen (r) TE

          Brian Urlacher (v) LB

2006 Devin Hester (r) KR/PR

          Olin Kreutz (v) C

2005 Chris Harris (r) S

          John Tait (v) T

2004 Tommie Harris (r) DT

          Olin Kreutz (v) C

2003 Charles Tillman (r) CB

          Olin Kreutz (v) C

2002 Alex Brown (r) DE

          Phillip Daniels (v) DE

2001 Anthony Thomas (r) RB

          James Williams (v) T

2000 Brian Urlacher (r) LB

          Clyde Simmons (v) DE

1999 Jerry Azumah (r) CB

         Marcus Robinson (v) WR

1998 Tony Parrish (r) S

          Bobby Engram (v) WR

1997 John Allred (r) TE

         Van Hiles (r) S

          Ryan Wetnight (v) TE

1996 Bobby Engram (r) WR

         Chris Zorich (v) DT

1995 Rashaan Salaam (r) RB

          Erik Kramer (v) QB

1994 Raymont Harris (r) RB

          Shaun Gayle (v) S

1993 Myron Baker (r) LB

          Todd Perry (r) G/T

          Tom Waddle (v) WR

1992 Troy Auzenne (r) G

          Mike Singletary (v) LB

1991 Chris Zorich DT

1990 Mark Carrier S

1989 Trace Armstrong DE

1988 James Thornton TE

1988 Mickey Pruitt LB

1987 Ron Morris WR

1986 Neal Anderson RB

1985 Kevin Butler K

1984 Shaun Gayle S

1983 Jim Covert T

1982 Jim McMahon QB

1981 Mike Singletary LB

1980 Bob Fisher TE

1979 Dan Hampton DE

1978 John Skibinski RB

1977 Ted Albrecht T

1976 Brian Baschnagel WR

1975 Roland Harper RB

1974 Fred Pagac TE

1973 Wally Chambers DT

1972 Jim Osborne DT

1971 Jerry Moore S

1970 Glen Holloway G

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