Former Bears great and Super Bowl champion Steve “Mongo” McMichael announced on Friday that he is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
McMichael said he has been diagnosed with 36-month onset ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and is currently without the use of his arms and hands.
“I’m not going to be out in the public any more. … You’re not going to see me out doing appearances, hell I can’t even sign my name any more, and everybody’s going to be speculating ‘Where’s McMichael, what’s wrong with him?” McMichael said via WGN9. “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 any more.”
McMichael was diagnosed with ALS in January and a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic confirmed the diagnosis. McMichael is currently using a customized wheelchair provided to him by the Bears.
After McMichael’s retirement in 1994 from football, he spent time with World Championship Wrestling between 1995 and 1999, eventually joining the villainous and iconic For Horsemen stable.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves and spine. Several NFL players, including Steve Gleason and the late-great Dwight Clark, have battled ALS.
McMichael is a College Football Hall of Famer and won Super Bowl 20 as an anchor of the legendary ’85 Bears.
Originally drafted by the Patriots in 1980, he spent 13 seasons with Chicago before finishing his career with the Packers.