Friend Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.
After starring at the University of Texas, Steve McMichael (no ending "s") was delected by the New England Patriots in the 1980 NFL Draft. He played a few games with the Pats in 1980, but joined the Chicago Bears in 1981. It was there that Mongo became a star.
For the next 13 seasons, he was one of the leaders on a ferocious defense. Often overshadowed by Hall of Famers Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent and even William "Refrigerator" Perry, McMichael is right up there in accomplishments. He is also near the top in being a character, a rait which would serve him well in later years when he transitioned to wrestling.
McMichael finished his NFL career with one season with the Green Bay Packers, but Bears fans like to forget that sight. Mongo will always be a Bear!
Unfortunately, recently Mongo revealed he is suffering with ALS. Physically, he is a shel of his former self, but he is still the same character. You can't keep Mongo down. The condition is sapping his strength, but not his heart and soul.
My friend Jim met McMichael in better days. Just five years ago, McMichael looked as good as ever.
Our thoughts and prayers are with McMichael as he bravely faces his fture. I also thank him for so many great memories on the football field. Plaque or not, Mongo is a Hall of Famer in my book.
Steve McMichael and Jim Strong in Round Lake Beach, IL-July 2016.