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Bears great McMichael contracts another infection, undergoes blood transfusion

Steve McMichael Bears Steve McMichael - Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bears great Steve McMichael has contracted another infection and was undergoing a blood transfusion days after being admitted into intensive care at a suburban Chicago hospital, his family said in a statement Saturday.

The family said the 66-year-old McMichael — who went public with an ALS diagnosis three years ago — contracted MRSA, a staph infection that can be difficult to treat because it is resistant to certain antibiotics.

“We are asking for your prayers to get Steve through this difficult time,” the family said. “Steve and his family and close friends believe in the power of prayer. Thank you for your love and continued support for our Mongo.”

McMichael was hospitalized Thursday with what was initially thought to be pneumonia. He was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. The family said Friday he was responding to antibiotics and was having fluid removed from his lungs, and he was expected to be released in the coming days.

The 66-year-old McMichael was hospitalized one week after being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is scheduled to be inducted Aug. 3 as part of a class that includes former Bears Julius Peppers and Devin Hester.

McMichael told the Chicago Tribune in April 2021 he had the condition known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which attacks nerve cells that control muscles throughout the body.

“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 Tribune.

McMichael, who controlled the interior of the line for the Bears’ famed “46 defense,” was an All-Pro during the 1985 Super Bowl championship season and in 1987. He played in a franchise-record 191 consecutive games from 1981 to 1993 and ranks second to Hall of Famer Richard Dent on the Bears’ all-time sacks list with 92 1/2. His final season was with Green Bay in 1994.

Whether he was terrorizing opponents or discussing the Bears on sports talk radio, the man known as “Ming The Merciless” and “Mongo” after the character in “Blazing Saddles” who knocked out a horse remained a prominent presence in Chicago long after his playing days ended. He also spent five years in professional wrestling in the late 1990s.