Bears great William “The Refrigerator” Perry has his 1985 Super Bowl ring back on his finger, thanks to a 10-year-old boy.
Cliff Forrest of Fox Chapel, Pa., took $8,500 out of his college savings account to buy Perry’s Super Bowl ring in New York.
“He only played in one Super Bowl,” Cliff said. “I thought he would want it more than I did.”
So the boy asked his father if he could give the ring back to Perry, who has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. The autoimmune disease attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Cliff Forrest Sr. said he wouldn’t have approved the purchase.
“I would not have permitted the purchase myself, but his mother is a little more soft-hearted,” Forrest said.
But Cliff admires Perry and had heard of the Bears’ famous Super Bowl XX-winning team. Cliff’s parents agreed to their son’s request and set out to return the ring to Perry, taking a flight to Chicago and giving the former football player his ring before an autograph session.
“He was very appreciative and he said, ‘Thank you,'” Cliff said.
In return, Perry gave the boy two autographed jerseys signed: “The Fridge, Thanks!”
Perry won’t say how his Super Bowl ring ended up for sale. These days, he said he is doing better, though sometimes he uses a battery-powered scooter.
“I’m up and moving around,” he said. “I’m doing what I like to do best — fishing.”
His former coach, Mike Ditka, believes Perry looks good, too.
“It’s the best I’ve seen him look in a long time,” Ditka said. “He’s really working at it.”
Perry played 10 seasons in the NFL. The defensive lineman and occasional goal-line running back became a national celebrity during his rookie season with the Bears in 1985, helping them win the Super Bowl title.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press