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The sad story of Refrigerator Perry

Twenty-five years ago, William “The Refrigerator” Perry was scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl for the Chicago Bears.

Now, according to an account from Tom Friend of, his life is a mess: Perry weighs 400 pounds and has health problems, memory problems and a drinking problem.

“Yeah, I admit to myself, yeah, I’m an alcoholic,” Perry says. “It just keeps going, keeps going, keeps going and keeps going.”

In 1988, when he was still a star with the Bears, Perry spent 28 days in treatment and began going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. But he hasn’t stopped drinking, and he acknowledges that he disregards his doctors’ advice for dealing with his ailments, which range from Guillain-Barre Syndrome to diabetes to high blood pressure to memory loss.

“Am I supposed to be taking my medicine? Yes, yes,” Perry said. “I take it sometimes, sometimes I don’t. I mean, I’m not going to lie to you.”

When Perry was 23 he was one of the most popular members of the great 1985 Bears. Now he’s 48, and his life is a sad story.

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30 Responses to “The sad story of Refrigerator Perry”
  1. stairwayto7 says: Feb 6, 2011 4:34 PM

    In 20 years, Raji will be the same..

  2. jw731 says: Feb 6, 2011 4:38 PM

    Yes….let’s pity a grown man who eats and drinks himself to his soon to be grave…Hell he’s 48 years old, many a person has had a harder life than him, i have zero pity for people who destroy themselves…..Take you’re damn medicine, stop acting like a child…It’s not a sad story, it’s pathetic…

  3. raider316 says: Feb 6, 2011 4:40 PM

    Its sad however most of it is his doing.
    Its hard to feel sorry for someone who basically refuses to take care of himself.
    One thing for sure, if he doesn’t take care of the diabetes it will take care of him.

  4. xstaticonradio says: Feb 6, 2011 4:41 PM

    His life isnt as sad as yours

  5. gbfanforever says: Feb 6, 2011 4:41 PM

    I have empathy for him but why should I feel bad for him losing everything when there’s a million addicts already out there with ruined lives that never had anything to begin with.

  6. coolzog says: Feb 6, 2011 4:45 PM

    Why is it sad? The guy is an idiot who won’t even take care of himself when offered help by others. He has nobody to blame but himself.

  7. frankvzappa says: Feb 6, 2011 4:46 PM

    i thought he was dead…guess he is doing better than i thought

  8. skoobyfl says: Feb 6, 2011 4:49 PM

    Make your own bed.

  9. jettybird says: Feb 6, 2011 4:50 PM

    wow this is sad I remember seeing him play…

  10. fiveaces20000 says: Feb 6, 2011 5:03 PM

    Very sad story. Almost as sad as William Perry getting a rushing attempt for a touchdown in the SuperBowl instead of Walter Payton. That was a travesty.

  11. krow101 says: Feb 6, 2011 5:03 PM

    We tend to forget how socially dysfunctional many players really are. Clearly he needs help… needed help… and didn’t get it. Sure, we’re all responsible for our own lives. But it’s still a damn disgrace. And while the owners don’t do a lot for the long term health of their employees, the union does nothing. Shame on them both.

  12. therealjcannon says: Feb 6, 2011 5:15 PM

    Pulling for you Fridge!

  13. smacklayer says: Feb 6, 2011 5:17 PM

    Sad story, but not dissimilar to millions of other americans who have addiction problems. People are people, NFL star or homeless guy on the corner.

    Sad thing is that he doesn’t sound like he really is interested in changing anything.

  14. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 6, 2011 5:28 PM

    So he won’t at least cut down some on his drinking, he won’t take the recommended medications and he won’t take care of himself in general.

    Sorry, can’t muster much sympathy for someone who makes ZERO effort to improve their situation.

  15. rangenius says: Feb 6, 2011 5:29 PM


  16. doe22us says: Feb 6, 2011 5:31 PM

    krow101 says:
    Feb 6, 2011 5:03 PM
    We tend to forget how socially dysfunctional many players really are. Clearly he needs help… needed help… and didn’t get it. Sure, we’re all responsible for our own lives. But it’s still a damn disgrace. And while the owners don’t do a lot for the long term health of their employees, the union does nothing. Shame on them both.

    Good points though but i am vey sure the owners and players union have probably reached out to him to help him out.. At 46 0r 48 this guy is a grown man, but its quite clear he hasnt done the best for himself

  17. masterofthegridiron says: Feb 6, 2011 5:43 PM

    You can’t blame the union or anybody for this guy having an eating disorder and an admitted alcohol problem. He’s probably been doing it so long there’s no hope.

  18. airwaymanagement says: Feb 6, 2011 5:49 PM

    boo hoo. i’m supposed to feel sad for the guy because he happened to score a touch down in a superbowl? meanwhile, all you journalist were essentially saying “haha, he’s so fat he’s called the refrigerator. Entertain me.” he make his choices. his case is no more/less special than any of the other countless people with the same issues/problems. i don’t celebrate william perry’s successes or failures. he’s human. and sometimes it’s a tragedy we play out.

  19. jupe says: Feb 6, 2011 6:10 PM

    let him keep sitting in his urine. until he wants to help himself nothing will change

  20. hobartbaker says: Feb 6, 2011 6:18 PM

    William “The Walk-In Beer Cooler” Perry.

  21. profootballwalk says: Feb 6, 2011 6:25 PM

    This is karma for Perry getting the TD call instead of Payton. Perry didn’t make the call, but he’s suffering for it.

  22. mrone50 says: Feb 6, 2011 6:27 PM

    Yeah, lets all pretend that making millions and playing in the NFL makes one exempt from having personal problems.

  23. jamie54 says: Feb 6, 2011 6:31 PM

    Yo krow101 don’t be blaming others more than himself. He put himself there and no one but he can get himself out. He even admits he’s not taking his meds regularly so what makes you think if he got better help it would be any different? No, he chose this path let him deal with it, you can’t blame owners or the union he has to accept the blame himself. People like you are enablers blaming everyone else except the person directly responsible, himself.

  24. bullpuppy552 says: Feb 6, 2011 6:34 PM

    He weighs 400 pounds now? That’s 50 pounds lighter then he was with the Bears. And who can have any pity for an immature goofball who can’t take his medication and grow the hell up. He’s 48 years old. It’s time he acts like it.

  25. trigdaddy says: Feb 6, 2011 6:39 PM

    How is his life any more sad than a regular alcoholic’s?

  26. lbijake says: Feb 6, 2011 7:46 PM

    It is a sad story. It is part of the disease. It seems he just wants to die. He will probably get his wish sooner than later.

  27. chicagorand says: Feb 7, 2011 3:09 PM

    I was an alcoholic up to the age of 44 Then a light came on, lets pray for Perry to see that light just like all others. It’s hard for some, let’s not judge, leave that up to GOD!

  28. newreality1 says: Feb 7, 2011 6:23 PM

    Hey chicagorand – Well said! Buddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Its a hell of a disease, but if your fortunate to deal with it life can be very good. God knows that as I get older I find more reasons to drink. Ill just keep in my memory this big kid, with a great smile pounding into the end zone against my packers. Its not a good memory for me but I bet its a great one for him!

  29. alan3008 says: Feb 18, 2011 9:35 PM

    The guy knows he has a problem. Why doesn’t he seek help and then go on that “Heavy” TV program to drop about 200 lbs?

  30. dtncdude says: Aug 15, 2013 5:15 AM

    So many of you think, “well, moderation…why doesn’t he just stop…I don’t feel bad…etc, etc.” The man is an ‘admitted’ alcoholic. He said it himself. I’ve seen MANY admit their alcoholics in and outside the rooms of AA. The key is the WILLINGNESS to want help and the ability to ACCEPT one’s disease. To the non-alcoholic, this concept seems foreign. That’s EXACTLY why programs like AA work…we all know each other very well and together WE help each other stay sober. And WHY the story about ‘The Fridge’. If anyone remembers his days as a ‘freakish’ player, he actually wasn’t too bad. His enormous size was used creatively in plays by Ditka. However, this doesn’t surprise me.

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