William “Refrigerator” Perry is one of the more legendary players in Bears history, but not everyone was on board with drafting the lineman-turned-fullback.
In ESPN’s “30 for 30” film, “The 85 Bears,” former coach Mike Ditka said famed defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan didn’t like the idea of selecting Perry.
“Buddy didn’t want to draft Fridge,” Ditka said. “He thought he was fat and slow. He was fat, but he wasn’t slow.”
But Ditka loved what he saw from the Clemson product, so the Bears selected Perry with the 22nd pick in the 1985 Draft.
Soon after, Ryan called Perry “a wasted draft choice.”
“I’ve coached a lot of defensive lineman in my day, I’ve never had one that heavy,” Ryan said in a piece of old footage featured in the film. “He’s going to have to lose a lot of weight to be a great pro.”
Ryan didn’t hold back his criticism of Perry during training camp leading up to the 1985 season.
“He’s just a big, overweight kid. He’s a nice kid, but I’ve got twin boys at home that are nice kids, too, and I don’t want them playing for me,” Ryan told the Sun-Times.
Perry would go on to be an integral part of the Bears’ championship team in 1985 and played 10 seasons before retiring from the NFL in 1994.
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Stats via Pro-Football-Reference