Aiken product "The Fridge" Perry in serious condition at Aiken hospital

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News 12 First at Five; April 22, 2009

AIKEN, S.C. --- A former professional football player from Aiken is still in serious condition tonight at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. We talk with a friend of Perry's since he was 12 years old.

He played for 2 NFL teams over a span of 10 years and became an American Icon.

News 12 talked with Perry's family off camera, as they wished not to talk on camera. They did tell us The Fridge is doing okay and should recover from this hospital trip. He's got a lot of people pulling for him from Aiken and beyond.

William "The Fridge" Perry was one of the biggest NFL defensive linemen in the 1980's. Now, he is in one of the biggest fights of his life.

"We went out together," says friend of many years Warren "Bull" Settles. "If you've seen him, you've seen me. You know, both of us were together all the time."

The duo go way back, all the way to when The Fridge was about 11 years old. Years later, after a successful career at Aiken High School, Clemson and in the NFL, Perry is at Aiken Regional Medical Centers fighting complications of Gullain-Barre Syndrome. It's a disease affecting the nervous system that's he's been battling since June of 2008.

"Don't want to lose him, no," says Bull. "If I can be there for him, I'm going to be there, right there, along beside him."

It's on a small table built just for Bull and The Fridge that the two shared their favorite moments. All it took is a simple deck of cards and a game of spades.

"The guys don't like for us to play together because we are real good," says Bull. And, he isn't kidding. It's a rule they can't play together, it's even written on the wall next to the table.

"I think about him, everyday," says Bull. "Pray for him.. hope that he is alright."

He's hoping Perry, a Super Bowl 20 Champion, will be back at this table and back soon.

"Thick to thin, I'll always be there," says Bull. "Always be my partner and can't help it because that's my buddy."

Again, The Fridge is in serious condition at Aiken Regional. He played with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles over 10 years in the NFL.

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