Bears legend Steve McMichael improving after staph infection, blood transfusion in hospital

McMichael was diagnosed with ALS three years ago and taken to the ER with suspected pneumonia on Thursday

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 13:  Steve McMichael #76 of the Chicago Bears looks for the pass during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 13, 1992 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 30-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Steve McMichael is a Hall of Famer. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Bears legend Steve McMichael is improving after a staph infection led to a stint in the intensive care unit at a Chicago-area hospital this week.

McMichael's wife Misty McMichael wrote in a statement shared with the Associated Press on Sunday that his family is hopeful that McMichael will return home from the hospital on Tuesday.

“He’s one tough guy,” Misty's statement reads. “He’s Mongo and his DNA is different! Keep those prayers coming! Thank you!”

McMichael was admitted to the ICU on Thursday with suspected pneumonia, according to a previous statement from his publicist.

On Saturday, an update regarding the 66-year-old's condition was provided by Jarett Payton, the son of iconic Bears running back Walter Payton. McMichael has contracted MRSA, his second infection since he was admitted to intensive care at a suburban Chicago hospital. Payton added that McMichael would be undergoing a blood transfusion and reiterated a message from the family.

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

This comes after McMichael was said to have been improving after he was given antibiotics for a UTI, per a social media post Payton shared Friday. McMichael underwent a procedure to drain fluid from his lungs, and hospital officials anticipated his release in the next few days, Payton said.

McMichael was diagnosed with ALS in 2021 and was previously hospitalized in 2023 with sepsis and pneumonia.

McMichael's latest trip to the hospital comes only seven days after he was announced to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024, set for enshrinement alongside fellow Bears greats Devin Hester and Julius Peppers.

His candidacy became a talking point during his previous hospitalization, which came while he was one of 12 semifinalists being considered by the Hall's seniors committee. Misty, Steve's wife of 23 years, openly campaigned for her husband to be honored while he was still alive, via Patch:

“I hope he stays alive for the next year because I know he will if he gets inducted,” Misty McMichael told Patch earlier this month. “I know he’ll stay alive. He’s tough. He’s not human. He probably should have been dead already. The doctors have been giving him six months for a year.

“But he’s hanging on, and I really hope that this gives him the incentive to hang on for another year.”

Days before the Super Bowl, Misty got her wish.

The Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 is scheduled to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3.

McMichael, a five-time All-Pro at defensive tackle, was a foundational member of the 1985 Bears, a team still considered one of the greatest in NFL history. Not only was "Mongo" a dominant force up front, but he was also described by Mike Ditka as one of the toughest players he ever coached.

His personality, which also came out in his career as a pro wrestler, made him a fan favorite in Chicago then and now.