Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 72 Days with William "The Fridge" Perry

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears add William Perry to historic defensive line

Upon leaving Clemson, Perry entered his name into the 1985 NFL Draft, where he was subsequently selected by the Chicago Bears with the 22nd overall pick. The Bears, who were just coming off an NFC Championship appearance in 1984, quickly inserted Perry into a defensive line that already included legends such as Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, and Steve McMichael.

As a rookie, it didn't take long for Perry to become a starter at the nose tackle position, but there were certainly some issues between the player and the coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan was not the biggest fan of Perry as a rookie, and with head coach Mike Ditka being a big advocate for the big man, Ditka put the defensive tackle on the offensive side of the ball.

Perry's most memorable moments as a rookie came on the offensive side of the ball. Due to Perry's size and athleticism, the defensive tackle was an imposing force on the goal line and served as full-back or half-back in several different packages. During the regular season, Perry matched his five sacks with three offensive touchdowns on just six touches.

When the regular season ended and the 15-1 Bears entered the postseason, Perry's versatility as an offensive weapon only became more prevalent. In Super Bowl XX, Perry even stole the national spotlight when he received a handoff at the goal line, where the large-bodied individual punched through the offensive line for a one-yard touchdown.

Following the Super Bowl winning season, Perry proved himself as a more consistent defensive contributor, as the nose guard started in all 16 of the team's games during 1986. In the ensuing seasons, Perry faced several smaller injuries that forced him to miss time here and there, most notably a 13-game absence during the 1988 season, but the Clemson product played eight full seasons with the Bears before being traded halfway through the 1993 season.