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Former Bears star, pro wrestler Steve 'Mongo' McMichael reveals ALS diagnosis

April 23 (UPI) -- Former Chicago Bears star defensive lineman and Super Bowl champion Steve McMichael, who later became a professional wrestler for WCW, revealed he has been diagnosed with ALS.

McMichael made the announcement in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that was published Friday. He said doctors diagnosed him with ALS three months ago.

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"I promise you, this epitaph that I'm going to have on me now? This ain't ever how I envisioned this was going to end," McMichael told the newspaper.

The 63-year-old McMichael now uses a specialized wheelchair -- that Bears ownership offered to pay for -- after the disease left him unable to use his arms and weakened his legs.

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"What I used to be is the antithesis of what I am now," McMichael said. "This is a humbling thing, brother."

McMichael, nicknamed "Mongo" in tribute to Alex Karras' character in Mel Brooks' 1974 film Blazing Saddles, was selected by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 1980 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas.

After one season in New England, the two-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro joined the Bears in 1981 and became a legend in Chicago, where he started 191 straight games and starred on defense from 1981-93.

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McMichael still ranks second in Bears history with 92.5 career sacks.

He spent his final NFL season with the division rival Green Bay Packers in 1994. The former defensive lineman joked with people in retirement that he signed with the Bears' rival to "steal their money."

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"I thought I was ready for anything," McMichael said of his diagnosis. "But man, this will sneak up on you like a cheap-shotting Green Bay Packer."

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