William Anthony Perry was born on 16th December 1962 in Aiken South Carolina.
William Perry earned his moniker ‘The refrigerator’, or more commonly ‘The Fridge’, due to his enormous frame. He once famously said in an interview “Even when I was little, I was big!”. Indeed, at the age of eleven, Perry already tipped the scales at 200 pounds – around 14 stone.
Despite this, he was very athletic and could run the 100 metres in under 12 seconds. It was his size, coupled with the athleticism that earned him a scholarship at Clemson University, where he represented the Tigers. It was here, as a freshman, that Perry earned his nickname when team mate, Roy Brown tried to squeeze into an elevator with William and said “Man, you’re about as big as a refrigerator”.
When he was selected in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Perry became an unwitting part of the open warfare that existed between head coach Mike Ditka – who had selected Perry – and Defensive Coach, Buddy Ryan, who called Perry a “waste of a draft pick”.
Ryan originally refused to play Perry as a part of his defence team so Ditka utilised him as a battering ram of a full back on fourth down and short plays. He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XX doing exactly this in his rookie season.
He became a hit with Bears fans and Ryan eventually decided to play him as a part of the defence. His teammates bestowed a second nickname of ‘Biscuit’ on Perry, claiming he was “a biscuit short of 350 pounds”.
When the Bears tasted victory in the 1986 Super Bowl game against the New England Patriots, it set the scene for the largest ring to be given to a winner. Perry’s ring (US size) was size 25, where the average male’s ring size is between 10 and 12.
During his ten years in the NFL, Perry played in 138 games making 29.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries and also managed 3 touchdowns during his time in the Bears offensive team.
Perry finished his NF career with two seasons in Philadelphia with the Eagles, whilst British fans may recall Perry joining the London Monarchs in 1996 for what proved to be a very uninspiring time but that doesn’t take away anything from Perry’s remarkable achievement in the game, where he was a huge star in every sense of the term.