Illinois Governor congratulates Steve ‘Mongo' McMichael on his Hall of Fame selection

Illinois Governor congratulates Steve ‘Mongo' McMichael on his Hall of Fame selection originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Bears legend Steve "Mongo" McMichael finally made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago on Wednesday.

To honor McMichael's long-awaited induction into Canton, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker congratulated McMichael with a post on X.

McMichael is part of this year's Seniors category finalists along with Randy Gradishar and Art Powell. Each candidate was voted upon individually by the selection committee. The selections for the Hall of Fame will be announced on Thursday evening.

The 50-person selection committee narrowed the Senior finalists down from a group of 12 seniors, who will remain under consideration for next year's class of inductees. Each Senior finalist needed at least 80% approval voting to be inducted. Mongo got the votes.

According to his wife, Misty, McMichael received "the call" on his status as a finalist in August 2023. A spokesperson for the family said a "Team Mongo" petition and letter-writing campaign to the Hall of Fame was launched in 2022 to advocate for McMichael to be inducted.

In August 2023, McMichael, 65, who suffers from ALS, was admitted to the ICU unconscious with sepsis and put on two IV antibiotics. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia, the spokesperson confirmed.

"He needs to see himself enshrined in the Hall of Fame," Misty said in a statement at the time of his hospitalization. "Please pray for him to get through this."

The spokesperson said McMichael's three-year battle with ALS has continued to worsen.

"The beloved Super Bowl XX Champion is battling ALS, which has progressed to the point of leaving McMichael paralyzed from the neck down, unable to speak, breathe or eat on his own," a release ahead of his finalist announcement read. "The hope of being inducted into the Hall of Fame has sustained Steve throughout his three-year fight against the debilitating and cruel disease."

McMichael played 13 of his 15 seasons for the Bears and was a key cog in the 1985 Super Bowl champion defense. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Second-Team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler. McMichael led the defense with 11.5 sacks in 1988, beating out both Richard Dent and Dan Hampton. His 92.5 career sacks with the Bears rank second in franchise history, behind only Dent’s 124.5 sacks.

On Wednesday, the Sun-Times reported that legendary Bears returner Devin Hester and nine-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers will be named Hall of Fame inductees alongside McMichael at Thursday's NFL Honors in Las Vegas.

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