One of the best things about William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who took America by storm as a 300-plus pound rookie defensive tackle-turned-running back on the 1985 Bears, was his infectious smile. So maybe when he says he’s happy, we should all just be happy for him.
“I’m home,” Perry told Rick Telander of Sports Illustrated on a visit to Perry’s South Carolina home. “And I’m happy. I can’t say everything is peachy keen, but I’m still enjoying life. I love Chicago, but there’s no place like home.”
The picture Telander paints of Perry, however, is less than happy.
According to Sports Illustrated, Perry drinks too much, his weight has ballooned to somewhere in the range of 430 to 450 pounds, he rarely sees his four kids or his two ex-wives, he lives alone in a retirement facility, the money he made playing football is long gone, he has both physical and mental ailments, and his doctor says he’s taking pills he shouldn’t take and not taking the medication he needs to take.
Perry’s brother, former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry, was appointed by a judge to be William’s guardian and conservator because William was in such bad shape that he could no longer care for himself. Perry’s son Willie thinks his uncle Michael Dean isn’t caring for his dad and wants guardianship for himself, an accusation that Michael Dean says is false. The Fridge’s old coach Mike Ditka says he seems to have given up on life.
For his part, Perry says, simply, “I’m my own man,” and he doesn’t need anyone telling him how to live his life. Perry doesn’t sound interested in changing, even if the way he’s living now can’t last much longer.