NFL Legacies: William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry

The life and career of NFL legend William Perry

William Perry has the reputation of being one of the biggest and most imposing NFL players ever to step out onto the field. It was his height, size, and weight that won him the nickname – The Refrigerator. 

 

Perry spent 10 years in the NFL and one year playing in the now-defunct Europa Football League. During this time he played mostly for the Chicago Bears. It was with the bears that he won his Super Bowl title in his rookie year. 

 

Let’s take a look at the career and life so far of William Perry. 

 

The College Years 

In 1981, Perry attempted to share an elevator with fellow Clemson University player Ray Brown. There was barely enough space for the pair. Brown said to Perry, “Man, you’re about as big as a refrigerator” and the nickname was born. 

 

Perry went to Clemson on a full football scholarship after running the 100 meters in 12 seconds in high school, as well as competing in track, diving, and football. 

 

In 1981, the Clemson Tigers won the National Championship with Perry on their team as a freshman. In 1983, Perry was a recognized All-American. 

 

Perry was expected to be picked late on in the 1984 Draft. 

 

The NFL Years 

Chicago Bears (1985–1993)

Philadelphia Eagles (1993–1994)

London Monarchs (1996)

 

The Bears picked Perry in the first round of the Draft in 1984 – to the shock of many, including the Bear’s defense coordinator Buddy Ryan. Ryan said that Perry was a wasted draft pick. 

 

Because of the animosity between Ryan and Perry, Ryan refused to let him play in his part of the team. So Perry played as a Fullback for the Bears. He was paired with Walter Payton, their lead running back at the time. During this time he scored 3 touchdowns. 

 

Eventually, Ryan changed his mind and allowed Perry to play as a defensive lineman. That year, Perry even scored a touchdown in their winning Super Bowl match. Perry’s ring had to be specially made as it was the biggest championship ring ever needed – he needed it in a size 25. Perry also holds the record for the heaviest man ever to score a touchdown. 

 

Perry was later traded to the Eagles. He played with the team for two seasons before retiring from the NFL. 

 

He later joined the World Football League (WFL) which later became known as the Europa Football League (EFL). Perry spent a season playing for the London Monarchs – in 1996. He fully retired from football after this. 

 

Neither the Eagles nor the Bears have made it into the playoffs this year – the Eagles finished bottom of their division and the bears finished third in theirs just above the Lions Both of the teams play in the NFC – the NFC championship match will be played between the Rams and the 49ers this year. 

 

The NFC has 28 Super Bowl wins compared to the 27 that the AFC has. Will the AFC win and make things equal this year, or will the NFC champions extend the league. 

 

Bookies currently have the Chiefs from the AFC as most likely to win the Super Bowl – you can check out more of Fanduel’s Super Bowl Odds here if you want to know more. 

 

The two leagues were formed after the NFL bought their rivals the AFL – the AFL teams became the AFC and they were joined by 2 NFL teams to make a full conference. 

 

Outside the NFL 

When Perry was in the NFL, he was very good friends with Walter Payton and the pair recorded 2 rap tracks together. One was to raise drug awareness and the other was to raise money for the Walter Payton Foundation. 

 

Perry also was involved in the recording of the Super Bowl Shuffle with the Chicago Bears. 

 

Perry was involved in acting in several comedy sketch shows during their early 00s. He also appeared in an episode of the A-Team alongside wrestling star Hulk Hogan. 

 

He took part in a televised boxing match against the former NBA star Manute Bol – Bol was over a foot and 5 inches taller than Perry at 7″7. Perry lost the match. 

 

Perry also took part in several wrestling matches with the WWE. He has been inducted into the Celebrity Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame for his performance at Wrestlemania 2. 

 

After retiring from the NFL, Perry was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, which is a chronic inflammatory disease that can be very painful. Perry has also admitted to suffering from alcoholism. 

 

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