Football

Montgomery wins Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award

Aug 8, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Former Iowa State star David Montgomery was honored on Tuesday as the winner of a prestigious award given by the Chicago Bears. Montgomery, who was a centerpiece of the Cyclone football resurgence from 2016-18, has been announced as the rookie winner of the 2020 Brian Piccolo Award.

The Bears have awarded the Brian Piccolo Award to a rookie since 1970 and expanded the award to include a veteran as well in 1992. This year’s veteran winner was defensive tackle Nick Williams.

According to a Bears release, 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, at the age of 26. Piccolo’s life became the subject of the 1971 film Brian’s Song, and an eventual remake in 2001.

As a rookie in 2019, Montgomery recorded 889 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on 242 carries. He also caught 25 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. His 889 rushing yards was the second-most for a rookie in 2019, behind only the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs.

“It’s a blessing to receive the Piccolo Award,” Montgomery said in the release. “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.”

Hearing of the impact Montgomery has made in the Chicago Bears locker room should come as no surprise to Iowa State fans considering the role he played in Matt Campbell’s program returning to national relevance.

The Cincinnati native was a two-time All-Big 12 honoree, including being a first-team selection in 2017, and a first-team All-American that same season by Pro Football Focus. He was named the Big 12 sportsperson of the year in 2019.

Montgomery finished his Iowa State career at sixth all-time in rushing with 2,925 yards, eighth all-time in rushing touchdowns with 26, third all-time in 100-yard rushing games with 15 and sixth in program history in all-purpose yards with 3,507 despite playing just three seasons in cardinal and gold. He also helped the program reached back-to-back bowl games in 2017 and 2018 and was a co-captain for Iowa State’s 2018 team that finished 8-5 with a berth in the Alamo Bowl.

While being known for his breathtaking runs full of power and grace on the field, Montgomery’s impact on the program off the field has been well documented. Unsurprisingly, he seems to be on the same trajectory while playing on the sport’s highest stage.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared is in his seventh year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as a full-time staff writer in May 2016. He took over as the site's managing editor in January 2020. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.