April 07, 2011
A Pittsburgh-area 10-year-old took $8,500 out of his college savings account to buy William "The Refrigerator" Perry's Super Bowl XX ring. And then he gave it right back to its original owner.
With the help of his mother and a hefty college fund, Cliff Forrest Jr. purchased the ring after seeing it at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in New York. Cliff's father, Cliff Forrest Sr. (above, left), said he wouldn't have approved his son's spending, "but his mother is a little more soft-hearted," he said.
Perry, a former Chicago Bears defensive lineman, had put his ring up for auction in 2007 for reasons unknown.
Soon after buying the ring, the younger Cliff heard about Perry's battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Figuring the former football star would be happier with the ring, Cliff set out to return it.
"He only played in one Super Bowl," Cliff told "SportsCenter" during an interview earlier this week. "I thought he would want it more than I did."
Cliff was unsuccessful in his attempt to get in touch with Perry. It wasn't until his mother started working the phones and set up a meeting before an autograph session in Chicago that Cliff was able to complete his good deed.
He took a flight to Chicago, met Perry and handed him the ring. In return, Cliff got two signed jerseys with the note "The Fridge, Thanks!" and five signed football cards.
"He was very appreciative and he said, 'thank you,'" Cliff said.
A sports collection website rains on the parade a little by pointing out that Perry's ring sold three years ago at auction for $27,000 and it's unlikely the price would have dropped so much since then. Even if Cliff's ring was a replica though, it doesn't change the kindness behind his action.
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