A former NFL defensive lineman and WCW star is opening up about his illness. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Steve McMichael revealed that he has been diagnosed with ALS three months ago. The 63-year old uses a specialized wheelchair, which is something the Bears ownership paid for. The disease left him unable to use his arms, and his legs have weakened.
"I promise you, this epitaph that I'm going to have on me now? This ain't ever how I envisioned this was going to end," McMichael said as reported by ESPN, "What I used to be is the antithesis of what I am now. This is a humbling thing, brother." McMichael also talked to WGN 9 in Chicago and said going out in public is something he can't do anymore.
“I’m not going to be out in the public anymore…you’re not going to see me out doing appearances, hell I can’t even sign my name anymore, and everybody’s going to be speculating ‘Where’s McMichael, what’s wrong with him?'" McMichael said. “I’m here to tell everyone I’ve been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, so I’m not going to be a public figure anymore.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help with the cost of medical care. There are also t-shirts being sold that read "Team Mongo", and the proceeds will go towards McMichael's fight against ALS. "Mongo" is McMichael's nickname, which is a tribute to late NFL star Alex Karras' character in the film Blazing Saddles.
McMichael was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round in 1980. He played for the Patriots for one season before being cut in 1981. The Chicago Bears quickly signed him and became one of the staples of the Bears defense that led the team to a Super Bowl win in 1985. McMichael played for the Bears for 13 seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl twice and the All-Pro team five times. He spent his final NFL season with the Green Bay Packers. in 1994.
After the NFL, McMichael spent some time in WCW as an announcer and competitor. One of his most notable matches was him partnering with late NFL legend Kevin Greene and taking on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson at Bash at the Beach in 1996. His last appearance in WCW was in 1999 when he was a member of the Four Horsemen.