Former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael is one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after the group of Senior semifinalists for the Class of 2024 was trimmed from 31 to 12.
The charismatic Texas native affectionately known as "Mongo" played 13 seasons with the Bears from 1981-93, appearing in a franchise-record 191 straight games. McMichael ranks second in team history with 92.5 sacks, helped the Bears win six division champions and was an instrumental part of the 1985 Super Bowl XX championship defense that many consider to be the best in NFL history.
Individually, McMichael was a two-time first-team All-Pro, a three-time second-team All-Pro and a two-time Pro Bowler. He was named the 19th best player in Bears history in 2019 by writers Don Pierson and Dan Pompei in the Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook—the second highest slot for a non-Hall of Famer.
McMichael revealed in April 2021 that he is suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
ALS is a neurodegenerative neuromuscular disease that results in the progressive loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscles. The affected muscles are responsible for chewing food, speaking and walking. Unfortunately, McMichael's condition has continued to deteriorate.
The other remaining Senior semifinalists are Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Randy Gradishar, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Art Powell, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor and Al Wistert.
Clark Shaughnessy, who served as a defensive coach for the Bears from 1951-62, remains in contention in as a Coach/Contributor after that category was trimmed from 29 to 12. Shaughnessy was an innovator who helped introduce the "T" formation.
The other remaining Coach/Contributor semifinalists are Tom Coughlin, Mike Holmgren, Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, Robert Kraft, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.
Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey was among the initial semifinalists in the Coach/Contributor category but was not selected to move onto the next step.
Both selection committees will meet to discuss the semifinalists at length. Coach/Contributor Committee members will meet Aug. 15 to select one Coach or Contributor for final consideration for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2024, while the Seniors Committee will meet Aug. 22 and may select up to three Seniors for final consideration. Expansion of the Seniors pool for election to the Hall was approved in 2022 for the Classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Take a look at each of the 30 players in franchise history to be enshrined in Canton, the most of any team in the NFL.