Adams, Webb named Piccolo Award winners


Adams, Webb named Piccolo Award winners

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted: 11:10 a.m.

By John Mullin
Tackle JMarcus Webb was the winner of the Bears prestigious Brian Piccolo Award, named for the former Bears running back and created in 1970 following death due to cancer on June 16 of that year.

Defensive tackle Anthony Adams, already the winner of the Bears Ed Block Courage Award this year, was honored Tuesday as the winner of the award for veterans. The veteran award was established in 1992 and first presented to Mike Singletary, who was retiring at the end of that season.

The winners are chosen by the players. This is the 41st anniversary of the award. Piccolo wore No. 41 when he played for the Bears from 1966-69

When an award is voted on by your teammates, it is special, said coach Lovie Smith.

Adams was a particular hit with one fan in attendance. Daddy, youre funny, son Anthony III piped up as Adams finished at the podium.

Coordinator Mike Martz presented the award to Webb, a seventh-round draft choice out of West Texas A&M. The odds of him making this team were pretty remarkable, Martz said. To accomplish what Webb did says a lot about JMarcus and the kind of many he is.

Webb was visibly moved by the moment. I stand here humbled by the Brian Piccolo Award, Webb said. He was a man who inspired people from all walks of life with his dedication... Im not sure Ill be able to measure up to such a man but I will seek to inspire others with my hard work and dedication.

Adams epitomizes the term and concept of teammate, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in presenting Adams.

I just appreciate everybody, on down to the training staff that kept us on the field, Adams said. Its definitely a great honor and it was definitely a great experience this year, being one game away from the Super Bowl...

Im sorry to be talking about Green Bay but I hate having this bad taste in my mouth.

Following Piccolos death, the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund was established and proceeds sent to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for research on embryonal cell carcinoma. The disease that was 100 percent fatal at the time of Piccolos death had the rate reduced to 50 percent today.

The late Ed McCaskey played a prominent role in helping Piccolo through his illness and in the work against cancer after Piccolos death. The Fund has since turned its work to breast cancer research and raised more than 8 million since 1991.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Cam Meredith return to the Bears?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Cam Meredith return to the Bears?

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score), Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel. Quenton Nelson works out at Notre Dame’s pro day. If he’s still on the board at 8, should the Bears take him? Plus the panel talks about the Cubs outfield heading into 2018 and if it’s time to shut down both Jonathan Toews and Lauri Markkanen.

Could Quenton Nelson increase his value by playing tackle?

USA Today

Could Quenton Nelson increase his value by playing tackle?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Quenton Nelson hasn’t met with the Bears yet during this pre-draft process, and doesn’t have a local visit scheduled with them. But maybe that’s not too surprising.

Harry Hiestand has better intel on him than anyone else after coaching him for the past four years at Notre Dame, after all. 

“Coach Hiestand, he’s known me since I was an immature freshman that wasn’t good at football, until now being a lot more mature and responsible and doing the right thing and a good football player,” Nelson said. “He knows everything about me.”

Could part of that intel provided by Hiestand be that Nelson has the ability to eventually play tackle?

Nelson might be the closest to a “sure thing” prospect in this year’s draft, with his reams of dominant film and off-the-charts work ethic projecting him as an All-Pro for years to come. But that he plays guard is a stumbling block, given interior positions generally don’t hold as much value as tackles in the NFL.

So here’s a potential scenario for the Bears: They draft Nelson at No. 8 — which is still "high" for a guard — and plug him at left guard in 2018. They then, under the careful watch of Hiestand, slide him to tackle in 2019. 

“I’m pretty convinced that Q could do whatever he sets his mind to,” Mike McGlinchey, a first-round tackle in his own right who's Nelson’s ex-Irish teammate and workout buddy, said. “If that’s what teams want him to play, I’m sure he’ll take that head on and perform to the best of his ability.” 

Nelson, to his credit, is confident he could make the switch to tackle (he was recruited by Hiestand as a tackle, and began his college career backing up Zack Martin at tackle). He said the only team that’s asked him about it so far is the Cincinnati Bengals, though it’s unlikely he’ll still be on the board when they pick at No. 21. 

But maybe the thought of guards being significantly less valuable than tackles is slowly becoming antiquated in today’s NFL. Four of the top 10 highest paid offensive linemen, by total contract value, are interior linemen. Three of the top 10 offensive linemen with the most guaranteed money are guards, led by Andrew Norwell, who inked a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month with $30 million guaranteed at signing. Only one offensive lineman — Nate Solder, who just signed with the New York Giants — is guaranteed more money. 

Following the money, if teams are willing to splash down loads of cash for the best guards in the league, a team may be willing to spend a top-10 pick on a guard who could immediately be among the best at his position in the NFL. Or the calculation for whatever team drafts him may be this: Would you rather have him as a perennial All-Pro guard or "merely" a solid-to-good tackle? 

Regardless of where he ends up playing, though, Nelson is one of those supremely-talented players who takes the right approach to his craft — in other words, one of those guys you just want to get in your building. And while Nelson said he’d love to play for his hometown New York Giants — who could be interested in him with the No. 2 pick — he said getting to link back up with Hiestand would be an incredible opportunity, too. 

“That would be amazing to play for him,” Nelson said. “He’s the one that made me into the player I am today. I wouldn’t be here without him or be in any conversations in the draft without him, so it would mean a lot to play for him again.”