Sad demise of NFL Wembley hero William ‘The Fridge’ Perry
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Sad demise of NFL Wembley hero William ‘The Fridge’ PerryHE was the 25 stone cult hero who introduced American football to Britain, scoring a Super Bowl touchdown and helping to sell out Wembley Stadium for a friendly.00:00, 21 OCT 2011Updated22:34, 3 FEB 2012Get daily updates directly to your inbox SubscribeThank you for subscribing!Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailHE was the 25 stone cult hero who introduced football to Britain, scoring a Super Bowl touchdown and helping to sell out Wembley Stadium for a friendly.But when the Chicago Bears return on Sunday, 25 years after their last visit, William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry won’t be there. ‘The Fridge’ is broken.He is battling an immune system disorder and alcoholism and his former coach Mike Ditka sadly admitted: “He’s not healthy. He’s got real problems.”With cheap bengals jerseys million dollar endorsements, his own action figure and a guest slot on the A Team, Perry was one wholesale texans jerseys of the world’s biggest sports stars when the Bears touched down in London in August 1986, causing a tabloid which produced headlines like ‘My Willie’s Not Fat Says Mrs Fridge’.On Sunday, he will have to watch from home in South Carolina and Ditka explained: “He can’t make it. He’s got a disease that attacks the nervous system.”I saw him a year ago and he was still a big man but had lost a lot of weight and was in a wheelchair.”When the disorder attacked two years ago, Perry’s weight dropped to under 14 stone as his body refused to fight off a cold which developed into pneumonia.Now he weighs double that, needs help to get out of bed each morning and spends most of his days in a living room chair, leaving only to drive to his local off licence.Perry has struggled with a booze problem for years and Ditka revealed: “It was nothing for him to drink a case of beer after a game. That was crazy stuff. That will catch up with you.”Fridge is a terrific guy and a great person and he was a very good football player. But in ’86 I felt we had the greatest football player I have seen in Walter Payton and everyone in London wanted to meet and interview the Fridge that was kind of interesting.”Perry was too ill to travel when the Bears, denied the Super Bowl winners’ trip to the White House in 1986 because of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster two days after the victory, finally made it to Washington DC this month.They were greeted by President Obama, who right winger Ditka once pondered running against for a Chicago seat in the US senate. Also tragically absent was Payton, the greatest running back in NFL history, who died of cancer in 1999, 13 years after he fell out with Ditka when the coach denied cheap dolphins jerseys him a Super Bowl touchdown that would have capped his glittering career and handed Perry the chance to score instead.As the Bears celebrated, Payton locked himself in an equipment cupboard and Ditka revealed he is still haunted by the decision.”It wasn’t because we were trying to make Fridge a full celebrity, it was a play we had run all year,” he said. “But if I had to do it again Walter would have got it.”Ditka, 72, said: “The players are prima donnas now. If one of my players behaved the way Carlos Tevez did, I would kick him right in the ass.