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Piccolo became symbol of courage

Reel Classics: 'Diggstown'

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Classic Brian Piccolo

ESPN Classic will celebrate Brian Piccolo in a five-hour tribute on Sunday beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Classic Brian Piccolo will include a new SportsCentury profile, an NFL 2Night special and the original version of "Brian's Song." Here is Sunday's schedule:
All times Eastern

Classic Brian Piccolo
Sunday, Nov. 4

7 p.m. - SportsCentury: Brian Piccolo
SportsCentury's profile of Brian Piccolo, the backup Chicago Bears running back who died of cancer at 26, will explore his collegiate and pro careers, the Bears' roommate integration in 1967, his relationship with Gale Sayers, his death due to cancer, the lasting effects of "Brian's Song" and the impact of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund.

8 p.m. - NFL 2Night: "Brian's Song" Tribute
Co-hosts Mark Malone and Merril Hoge will explore the film, "Brian's Song." Through essays and interviews, the show will demonstrate the impact the film has had and still has, as well as explain the liberties taken by the filmmakers in presenting a real-life story. Interviews with James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and Dick Butkus; testimony from Mike Ditka, Bob Costas, Brett Favre and Tom Jackson; and essays by Stuart Scott and Al Bernstein will be featured. It will also include an NFL players' view of the acting: how James Caan had to slow down during running scenes in order to make Billy Dee Williams look faster; how Caan overcame not looking like a football player with his all-out, brash execution; and how Caan thought he would get a contract from the Bears after his performance.

9 p.m. - Reel Classics: "Brian's Song"
The story of a friendship of two Chicago Bears, Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and the tragedy which affects the entire team when Piccolo develops cancer. The presentation will be hosted by Jeff Cesario and Norman Chad, and will feature extensive, behind-the-scenes interviews with Cann and Williams, as well as past and current NFL stars.

11 p.m. - SportsCentury: Brian Piccolo

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