Former Chicago Bear William "The Refrigerator" Perry, pictured here in 2003 competing in a Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest in New York. | AP
It was 25 years ago the nation became enthralled with a pudgy Chicago Bear named William “Refrigerator” Perry.
Endorsements, Letterman, adoring fans--”The Fridge” had it all.
Or, so it seemed.
Tom Friend of ESPN crafted a compelling story and video about the one-time national sensation, and it’s not pretty.
Perry, who lives in Aiken, S.C., weighs more than 400 pounds and barely moves except to go to the bathroom or to the liquor store to buy beer.
Perry admits in the story that the Bears tried to help him with his drinking problem in 1988, but to no avail.
In June of 2008 Perry came down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an illness that attacks the body’s nervous system. Perry spent over five months in the hospital recuperating.
Upon returning home, Perry went back to his old habits. The Guillain-Barre returned along with pneumonia, and the Fridge’s weight dropped to 190 pounds. Mike Ditka, old teammates and his brother, ex-NFL player Michael-Dean, tried to help, but Perry wasn’t hearing any of it.
His weight is back up, and so is his drinking, despite grave warnings. While he’s not engulfing the two cases of beer a night he used to, Perry does admit that he can’t stop drinking.
For the entire story, click on the accompanying link.