Family, friends celebrate Chicago Bears legend Steve McMichael's election into Hall of Fame

Friday, February 9, 2024
Supporters celebrate Steve McMichael's election into Hall of Fame
A big celebration took place Friday at Chicago Bears legend Steve "Mongo" McMichael's Homer Glen home.

HOMER GLEN, Ill. (WLS) -- A big celebration took place Friday at Chicago Bears legend Steve "Mongo" McMichael's Homer Glen home.

Some thought the day would never come, but now they're applauding McMichael on his huge accomplishment.

He's officially been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

McMichael awaited the special announcement, with an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, diagnosis.

His wife, Misty McMichael, said it's been a long time coming.

"It's bittersweet because they should've done it a long time ago so he could've enjoyed it, but it's sweet that he's still with us," she said.

ALS has robbed McMichael of his ability to move or speak, leaving him to communicate through a special device that follows eye movements, but he has made it clear how much this means to him.

"I told him to start writing his speech for Canton, and if this is all he ever writes, it's OK by me: 'Hello Chicago, thank you Chicago!' That's how I feel. They took us in as their own. We're from Texas, but Chicago is like our hometown. We're happy they'll celebrate with us," Misty McMichael said.

McMichael has always been a fan of bagpipe music and a big supporter of first responders. The Emerald Society was on board immediately to play for the newly-named Hall of Famer in his backyard.

"He has done so much of himself for so long," said John Harmening with the Emerald Society.

Congratulatory messages have been pouring in, including an impromptu reaction from Saturday Night Live superfan Robert Smigel.

"Mongo, congrats," Smigel said. "You were the best. Forever a glorious member of the Hall of Bears... that's what they should call it anyways."

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"We've waited for this a very long time," McMichael's sister Kathy said. It's amazing that he gets to know. That's all he wanted to know... that he was in the hall of fame."

McMichael played 13 seasons with the Bears, making the Pro Bowl in five of them as one of the best defensive linemen of his era.

Former teammates are thrilled he's finally being recognized for this big honor.

"I played next to Steve for 10 years in all kinds of weather and circumstances, and it wouldn't have been the same without him. He was fantastic," Dan Hampton said.

Fellow former Bears Devin Hester and Julius Peppers will also be honored.

As for No. 76, many agree, he should have been inducted years ago.

"I couldn't be happier; we never thought this day would come, but thank the lord. Steve is going in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Hampton said.

Friends say he also has a Hall of Fame heart, like when he helped raise money for his friend Todd Wilkins who lost his 6-year-old son Michael to a rare form of cancer.

"I'm just so happy, not only about the Hall of Fame, but these stories to get told about a great man and a great Bear," Wilkins said.

McMichael's family said the Bears organization has promised to pay for whatever medical transportation is necessary to bring McMichael to Canton, Ohio for the induction ceremony. They're praying he will be able to do that.

Family and friends gathered to celebrate in Homer Glen Thursday morning.

Family and friends spoke on Steve McMichael's election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.