PHIL MASCIONE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
March 21, 2001
Chicago Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo were the inspiration behind the made-for-TV movie "Brian's Song."
Sayer, left, broke the NFL touchdown record in 1965, his rookie season, and led the NFL in rushing yards in his second and third before sustaining two knee injuries that would cut his career short. He retired in 1971.
Brian Piccolo worked his way up as a starter for the Bears after playing as Sayers' backup for a few years. The two were close friends. But Piccolo's career as a starter was short lived when he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer and died in 1970 at the age of 26.