AUSTIN (KXAN/WGN) — Former Texas Longhorn and Chicago Bears great Steve “Mongo” McMichaels told NewsNation affiliate WGN this week that he’s been diagnosed with 36-month onset ALS.
McMichael, 63, lives in Austin and was first diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at the Mayo Clinic in January. A second opinion at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago confirmed the Mayo Clinic diagnosis.
“I’m not going to be out in the public anymore,” McMichael said. “You’re not going to see me out doing appearances. Hell I can’t even sign my name anymore, and everybody’s going to be speculating ‘Where’s McMichael, what’s wrong with him? I’m here to tell everyone I’ve been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, so I’m not going to be a public figure anymore.”
McMichael uses a customized wheelchair provided to him by the Bears and has lost the use of his hands. He gets help from his wife, Misty.
McMichael was born in Houston but his family moved to Freer, Texas, halfway between Corpus Christi and Laredo in South Texas. He went to high school there before committing to play for the Longhorns in college.
He was a defensive tackle for the Horns from 1976 to 1979 and was a first-team All-American his senior season. In 2010, McMichael was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
McMichael was a major part of the Bears’ success in the 1980s and helped them win the 1985 Super Bowl. He played for the team for 13 years.
After retiring from professional football, McMichael wrestled at WCW.