April 24, 2009
CHICAGO- Former Tulane star and current Chicago Bears running back, Matt Forté has been selected as a recipient of the 2009 Brian Piccolo Award, as presented Thursday at Halas Hall in Chicago. Bears veteran cornerback Charles Tillman also received the award.
The prestigious award, given to a rookie within the organization since 1970, was expanded in 1992 to include a veteran player as well. Voted on by teammates, the award goes to the rookie and veteran who best embody the same characteristics of the late Brian Piccolo, a Bears running back who lost his battle with embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970 at the age of 26. The traits that serve as criteria for the award include courage, loyalty, teamwork and dedication as well as the sense of humor for which Piccolo was known. Brian Urlacher and Greg Olsen were selected for the honor at the conclusion of last season.
"I'm pretty proud of myself for winning the award but it also takes me having my teammates behind me," Forte said. "I really thank my teammates for that too. It means a lot when your teammates' vote for you to win an award like that."
Forté, who is currently attending classes at Tulane while working towards a finance degree, received the award via video conference. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner presented the award to Forté while Bob Babich, the Bears' defensive coordinator/linebackers coach, honored Tillman.
While at Tulane, Forté was a second and third team All-America pick by several publications. He rushed for a Tulane single-season record 2,127 yards, which marked the seventh-best single season rushing performance in NCAA history. A two-time C-USA and National Offensive Player of the Week honoree, Forté was the MVP of the 2008 Under Amour Senior Bowl, and received the prestigious James J. Corbett Memorial Award for the outstanding male collegiate athlete in the state of Louisiana.