Happy Birthday To #NFL’s Former #ChicagoBears Defensive Tackle #WilliamAnthonyPerry! “The Refrigerator” Is 61 Today! The heaviest man to ever score a running touchdown off a set play in NFL history.

William Perry at 61: A Legacy Beyond the Gridiron

As we reach the end of 2023, it’s time to celebrate the birthday of a football legend, William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, who turns 61. His journey from a small town in South Carolina to becoming an NFL icon with the Chicago Bears is a story of talent, determination, and resilience. Perry’s career and life off the field have been as colorful and impactful as his days dominating the defensive line.

Early Years and Rise to Fame

Born on December 16, 1962, in Aiken, South Carolina, William Perry’s path to football greatness began in his high school years. His sheer size and strength made him a formidable presence on the field, earning him the nickname “The Refrigerator” or “Fridge” for his ability to “cool down” offensive players.

College Football and the Making of a Star

Perry’s college career at Clemson University was marked by spectacular performances, laying the groundwork for his future in the NFL. His time with the Clemson Tigers saw him becoming one of the most feared defensive linemen in college football, setting the stage for his entry into the professional arena.

The Chicago Bears Era

In 1985, Perry was drafted by the Chicago Bears, a decision that would change the course of his career and the team’s fortunes. His rookie season was nothing short of phenomenal, contributing significantly to the Bears’ dominating defense that led them to victory in Super Bowl XX.

More Than Just a Defensive Player

While Perry was primarily a defensive tackle, his versatility saw him play on the offensive side as well. His most memorable moment came during Super Bowl XX, where he scored a touchdown, a rare feat for a defensive lineman. This play not only highlighted his athletic prowess but also his ability to break stereotypes in the sport.

Impact and Legacy in the NFL

Perry’s impact on the NFL was immediate and lasting. He became a fan favorite not only for his performances on the field but also for his charismatic personality. His ability to play at a high level despite his size challenged the norms of athleticism and opened the door for players of all builds.

The Cultural Phenomenon

Perry’s fame transcended the realm of sports. He became a cultural icon, appearing in commercials, television shows, and even making a foray into professional wrestling. His larger-than-life persona endeared him to a broad audience, making him one of the most recognizable figures of his time.

Challenges and Personal Struggles

William Perry’s journey was not without its challenges. Post his NFL career, he faced several personal and health struggles, including financial difficulties and health issues related to his weight. These battles showed a different side of Perry, one marked by vulnerability and human resilience.

The Fight Against Illness

Perry’s health struggles have been a significant part of his story in recent years. His battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder, and other health issues have been public, garnering support and sympathy from fans worldwide.

Philanthropy and Community Involvement

Despite his challenges, Perry has been involved in various charitable causes, particularly those related to children and sports. His commitment to giving back to the community reflects the depth of his character and his desire to make a positive impact beyond the football field.

An Inspiration to Many

Perry’s philanthropic efforts and his resilience in facing personal challenges have made him an inspiration to many. He has shown that the spirit of a true athlete extends beyond physical prowess, embodying strength, courage, and compassion.

Reflections on a Storied Career

As Perry celebrates his 61st birthday, it’s an opportunity to reflect on a career that has had a lasting impact on American football. His time in the NFL was marked by groundbreaking achievements and memorable moments that have etched his name in the history of the sport.

18 Mar 1996: William ”The Refrigerator” Perry arrives in London in preparation for his debut for the London Monarchs against the Scottish Claymores on April 14 in the World League of American Football. Mandatory Credit: Gary M. Prior/ALLSPORT

Perry’s Influence on Future Generations

William Perry’s influence extends to future generations of football players and fans. He has shown that with determination and hard work, boundaries can be broken, and new standards can be set. His legacy in the NFL serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes and a reminder of the diverse talents that define the sport.


William Perry’s 61st birthday is not just a celebration of a year in his life but a recognition of a journey that has inspired and entertained millions. From his humble beginnings to the pinnacle of NFL success and through his personal battles, Perry has remained a figure of resilience, strength, and heart. His legacy in football and his contributions off the field continue to resonate, making him a true icon of American sports. Happy Birthday, William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry – a legend in every sense of the word.

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