Amid the hoopla of Super Bowl XLV, you might have missed Tom Friend's stark weekend profile of former Chicago Bears defensive lineman William 'The Refrigerator' Perry, who continues to suffer from health and alcohol-related problems at age 48. Below is an excerpt of Friend's story, along with the video version of the piece.
Every day begins with William Perry needing help out of bed. Usually, it's 10 a.m. before he even gives it a try, and to support his 400 pounds, he shuffles to the living room on two legs that barely work and his sturdy black cane.
Once he sits down, he and his chair are in a long-term relationship. He doesn't move, except to go to the bathroom, and the concerning part is that he has no desire to move. A home gym is just 20 feet away from him, but he mostly scowls at it from a safe distance. A walking path is only 40 feet away, but he mostly hisses at it from the comfort of his seat.
His day consists of watching television and eating three or four meals prepared by his heart-broken wife, Valerie. She nags him to exercise, but says she gets "cussed out'' for it. She bugs him to take his medication but says she gets ignored over it. Her new trick, just to get him on his feet, is to tell him he has to come to the kitchen to eat his lunch. That's her best way to get "The Refrigerator'' to walk near the refrigerator.
Of course, then when she least expects it, her husband will hobble out the door and into his car. She knows exactly where he's headed: to the liquor store.
Because every day ends with William Perry needing a drink.