Chicago Bears Top 100: #59 William Perry

We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Bears 2014 season kicks off. Thanks to Bear Goggles On contributor and the fine editor of Blackhawk Up Keith Schultz’s suggestion, we’re going to do a Top 100 list of the all time Chicago Bears.  It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down memory lane.

William Perry was known mostly for his weight, scoring TDs on offense, and his big personality, but he was a very good defensive lineman. The Bears used the 22nd overall pick of the 1985 draft on Perry, a two-time All-American DT from Clemson. He was a controversial figure from draft day on; Head coach Mike Ditka handpicked Perry despite defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan’s objections and they feuded over Perry’s role with the team right away. Ryan called Perry a “wasted draft choice” after he showed up at training camp overweight and then refused to play Perry at DT. Ditka used him on offense as a goal line fullback and the 330-pound Perry had three touchdowns his rookie year (2 rushing, 1 receiving).

Eventually Buddy Ryan relented and inserted Perry into the starting lineup in week 8 and Perry responded with a sack in his first start. He ended up with 5 sacks his rookie year as the Bears defense dominated the rest of the league en route to a championship season. Perry scored a rushing touchdown in the Super Bowl and became a fan favorite and household name. Over the next few years, Perry appeared in commercials for Coke & McDonald’s, had a cameo on the A-Team, a solo in the Super Bowl shuffle, and even had a G.I. Joe action figure. Perry struggled to keep his weight under control over the next few seasons, but his off-field fame didn’t seem to affect his play on the field. He started all but 1 game over the next two seasons and racked up 139 tackles and 8 more sacks.

In 1988 Perry’s season was cut short due to injury after just three games, but from ’89-’92 Perry started at defensive tackle for the Bears. He was a force against the run (259 tackles) and used his surprising quickness to generate an interior pass rush as well (15.5 sacks).  These days 330 pound defensive lineman aren’t a big deal, but in the late 80’s there were few (if any) lineman as big as Perry and he was a unique athlete for his size. The Bears traded Perry to the Eagles halfway through the ’93 season ending his 8.5 years with the Bears. Perry played one more season with the Eagles before retiring in 1994. During his Bears career, Perry had 456 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries, and 4 offensive touchdowns.

What do you think of the ranking?  Too high?  Too low?  I guess you’ll have to check back to see who finished ahead of him to judge for yourself.  We’ll be counting down a different person each day as we inch our way to the September 7th season opener.

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