Rick Telander of Sports Illustrated has a story on William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the iconic player from the 1985 Chicago Bears title team, who has fallen on hard times in recent years.
Perry can barely walk, and only then with a walker. He’s at least 150 pounds overweight—around 430, even 450, according to friends and family. He doesn’t work with physical therapists, or wear the compression socks or orthopedic shoes that he should. His hearing is terrible but he won’t wear his hearing aids, so he ends up virtually reading lips unless you are close to him and speaking loudly.
He has four children and he doesn’t see them much, or at least not as often as one would expect. Both of his ex-wives are out of the picture. He lives alone in a retirement facility.
When Perry was in Chicago for the 30th anniversary of the Bears’ Super Bowl win, he had to be hospitalized with a diabetes-related leg infection. He drinks heavily on a daily basis, drinking beer and vodka while hanging out in his car, where Telander notes “[t]he thing is, Fridge can’t move from his driver’s seat. His car reeks of urine because he sometimes can’t control his bladder, sometimes doesn’t care.”
Perry, still only 53 years old, has had numerous medical issues. In 2008, he developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, and his brother Michael Dean was appointed as his guardian. The family is embroiled in dispute over who should be taking care of him and helping him make decisions, with accusations made by and against his son William. It’s a big mess, and a sad story for one of the memorable and famous players of the 1980’s.