Ex-Bear Steve McMichael announces he has ALS

Steve McMichael
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Steve McMichael, a longtime NFL defensive tackle who was an All-Pro for the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Bears, has announced that he has ALS.

McMichael gave an interview to Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter Payton, who is a broadcaster for WGN in Chicago, in which he looked gaunt and said he is no longer able to make public appearances.

“I’m not going to be in the public anymore,” McMichael said. “You’re not gonna see me out doing appearances. I can’t even sign my name anymore.”

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Those who suffer from ALS gradually lose their ability to move their muscles and eventually lose their ability to speak, eat and breathe.

Other former NFL players who have been diagnosed with ALS include Steve Gleason, Dwight Clark, O.J. Brigance, Tim Green and Kevin Turner. Some neurologists believe there is a link between head trauma suffered on the football field and the development of ALS, although the ALS Association says more long-term studies are needed for a full understanding of the connection between football and ALS.

The 63-year-old McMichael had a College Football Hall of Fame career at Texas and was a third-round pick of the Patriots in 1980. New England cut him after one season and he signed in Chicago, where he played for 13 seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring and being named first-team All-Pro in 1985 and 1987. He played his final season with the Packers in 1994. He had a post-football career as a professional wrestler and commentator.

15 responses to “Ex-Bear Steve McMichael announces he has ALS

  1. My mother died from MS or ALS (doctors couldn’t decide which). It’s something I wish on no one. I wish him the best and enjoyed watching him on the field and in the wrestling ring after…

  2. Sorry to hear that. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with ALS and passed away about two years later. Not a pleasant way to go. She was just past 50.

  3. Tough to hear. Ming the Mercelus and Mongo as he was called was one of the great Bears D- lineman. Always great to hear his stories even the ones when he was at Texas. Sorry to hear this news. Hall of Fame should be in line. He deserves it . God Speed Mongo.

  4. i’m not quite old enough to remember him playing but i loved him as mongo mcmichael in the 90s…sucks to hear

  5. Tragic. Wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Best wishes for this to be as easy on him and his family as possible

  6. Tragic news. His call if he wants to push through and fight it at every step like Steve Gleason, but would not blame him in the slightest if he wants to simply go quietly into the hereafter. Either way, wishing Mongo the best for him and his family.

  7. This guy was one hell of a football player. He could really get after QB’s. I hate to hear that he is ill. God bless Steve and his family.

  8. Extremely saddened to learn of Mr. McMichael’s health challenge ☹. Wishing he and his Family BLESSINGS and victory in his battle with ALS 🙏🏾🤲🏾.

  9. My dad died of this in the early 90s. Vicious and nasty illness. Steve was a lot of fun as a player and personality on that defense.

  10. Oh man that just stinks — even as an opposing NFC Central fan I loved that guy. ALS is just the absolute worst, and I can’t imagine the added gut punch that must be for a professional athlete.

  11. Aw no! Not Mongo – He is one of my favourite players. Not just when he played but I always enjoyed listening to him on 670 The Score. Such a shame…

  12. What a shame. He personified the 86 Bears defense, that is without question, the greatest of all time. Man, did Mongo and the boys light it up! You’re headed to a better place Steve.

  13. From his time in pro-wrestling, Arn Anderson tells a story that “Mongo sucked in the ring but no one dared to tell him that because he was a legitimate bad ass”

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