Feature

A broken Fridge

After Super Bowl XX, in 1985, things went downhill for William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

Every day is a struggle for William “The Refrigerator” Perry, said Tom Friend in ESPN​.com. At 48, the appliance-sized, gap-toothed former Chicago Bears defensive lineman who once charmed the nation’s football fans weighs in at an unhealthy 400 pounds, and has all but given up in his lifelong battle with alcoholism. In Super Bowl XX, in 1985, Perry’s popularity peaked when he was inserted as a running back at the goal line, and plowed forward on a one-yard run, crushing a defender who dared get in his way. “It was like a Mack truck smashing a Volkswagen,” he says.

After that, things went downhill. His weight continued to balloon out of control, and so did his drinking; he was known to down two or three cases of beer in a sitting. His career ended in 1994. After a messy divorce and more serious drinking, Perry was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a nervous-system disease that causes progressive paralysis. Today he can barely walk and seldom moves himself other than to drive to the liquor store. He has diabetes and high blood pressure, too, but doesn’t follow doctor’s orders. “Am I supposed to be taking my medication? Yes, yes,” he says. “I take it sometimes, sometimes I don’t.” He owns up to his alcoholism, but continues to drink. “Yeah, I admit it to myself, yeah, I’m an alcoholic,” says Perry. “It just keeps going, keeps going, keeps going and keeps going.”

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