3 Things We Learned At The Chicago Bears Minicamp Including Everyone Wearing Number 41 To Honor Brian Piccolo – The Mercury News

The Chicago Bears concluded their off-season program on Thursday morning with a short rehearsal at Halas Hall.

Bears coach Matt Eberfluss spoke in advance with the players about their hopes for their downtime over the next six weeks, saying that he wants them to spend time with family, be safe and mindful and keep their bodies at training camp. prepare for.

“Training camps do not have to come in shape. You should be in shape already,” said Eberfluss, who looks forward to spending time with his family, reading, playing golf and contemplating the potential challenges in the coming season.

Here are three other things we learned in his break as Bear.

1. All Bears players wore the number 41 in practice to honor the late Brian Piccolo.

The practice area at Halas Hall was a sea of ​​navy, white and orange Number 41 jerseys as the bears remembered Piccolo, who died 52 years ago Thursday at the age of 26 from cancer.

At a team meeting in the morning, Aberfluss shared the story of Piccolo and teammate Gail Sayers, the NFL’s first interracial roommate. Their friendship and support through Sayers’ knee injury and then Piccolo’s battle against embryonic cell carcinoma was the subject of the film “Brian’s Song”.

Eberfluss said he wanted to “respect” Brian Piccolo’s Legacy and FamilyAnd tell the players about their story before wearing the number 41 jersey. He addressed the media sitting next to the 1969 George Halas Courage Award, which was awarded to Sayers, who presented it to Piccolo.

“You go back so far, and it’s sometimes hard for them to see the influence of Brian Piccolo[in]the late ’60s,” Eberfluss said. “I just think about respecting their lives. … He was a really good fellow and he loved to have fun with his teammates. He used to play practical jokes on them and things like that. . Just a real man and a real person and a Chicago Bear.”

Joy Piccolo O’Connell, Brian’s wife, and their daughters participated in the exercise. They usually return to Halas Hall for the annual Brian Piccolo Awards, which goes to a veteran and rookie who embodies the spirit of Piccolo. Robert Quinn and Khalil Herbert won the awards in 2021. The event also promotes awareness of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund.

“It’s wonderful to see my family practice there,” said rookie receiver Welles Jones Jr. “It’s just crazy that even when you’re gone, your legacy lives on with your kids and everything, and I thought it was a real beautiful thing. Wearing 41 was wonderful. Definitely a big part of history here.” Is.”

2. Wells Jones is building chemistry with junior quarterback Justin Fields.

In the seven weeks since Jones drafted him in the third round, Jones settled with the Bears, with the rookie receiver saying it helped to have his locker next to Fields. This has fostered easy conversation about football and many other topics.

“Choosing each other’s brains and stuff[to make chemistry]makes it a lot easier,” Jones said. “I think it’s also part of the connection, knowing who your quarterback is out of football. It makes things a lot easier when I go in for practice as well. He’s up to me. A lot of guys like me.” I will pat him on the back and do what I can to move forward in this crime.

Jones said that coaches have pushed him a lot in the Bears’ offense, and the number of balls he bowled during OTAs and minicamps has boosted his confidence.

He has already made an impression on wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who said on Tuesday, “He can fly. He can definitely be a playmaker for us.”

Jones likes that his teammates are making such statements about him early in his career. He said he imagines himself running walks and catching touchdowns every night before he goes to sleep.

“I’m big on revealing,” Jones said. “So I can see a lot of great things going on this season, even in some plays or some of the routes Justin throws in. I know for sure that I am not going to disappoint them. I’m definitely going to be the player they draft, the guy who’s good with yards after catches, the guy who plays at nothing. ,

3. Rookie safety Jacken Brisker said his knack for ‘Peanut Punch’ comes from ‘just loving turnovers’.

The Bears’ coaches stated early in the OTA that Brisker, the second-round pick, showed the ability to get the ball out of the opponents.

Brisker said it is both taught and innate.

“That’s the norm around here, so creating turnover is what we do,” Brisker said. “And that too was in my DNA. I feel like I am attacking the ball. I attack the ball whether it is a rumble or it is going for interception. So I like to be around football and obviously like to take it back for offense. ,

Brisker has a list of things he knows that coaches will want him to work on in the weeks leading up to training camp as he prepares for what could potentially be an opening role alongside Eddie Jackson.

“Playing down, clearing my eyes and putting it all together,” Brisker said. “They challenge me to work on one thing at a time.”

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