CHICAGO — The passion that he showed in the ring to entertain fans for decades is the same that he’s showing for one of his good friends going for a major honor in a difficult time in his life.

If you ask Ric Flair if Steve McMichael should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he answers firmly in the affirmative. In fact, he wonders why more people haven’t been talking about it for longer.

“You’ve gotta talk about Mongo,” said Flair to WGN News Now as he mentioned the chatter being around others up for consideration for election for the Class of 2024. “Let’s forget about talking about first ballot, let’s get a guy that might live another six months, let’s talk about him.”

Flair is one of many who are supporting the former Bears defensive tackle, who is currently battling ALS, as he looks to take a step closer to election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McMichael is in the final 12 of the Seniors Committee’s list for possible enshrinement as part of the Class of 2024.

On August 22, that group will decide on up to three finalists to pass along for a full vote for the Hall of Fame early in 2024. This past year, the three finalists from the Seniors Committee were all elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For Flair, it’s a no-brainer that he should be in.

“For numerous reasons,” said Flair when asked why he believes McMichael should be in the Hall of Fame. “He’s as infamous as any player on that ’85 team, number one. Number two, his stats are better than Warren Sapp (Hall of Fame Class of 2013). So what’s the problem?”

McMichael’s numbers (95 sacks, 13 forced fumbles) are on par with Sapp (96.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles), and his contributions to the famed Bears’ defense of the mid-to-late 1980s have been discussed often. A crucial part of the team’s 4-6 scheme, McMichael was a two-time first team NFL All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection during his time in Chicago, which made up 13 of his 15 seasons in the league.

That along with the fact that ALS continues to take a toll on the former Bears’ player since his diagnosis in January 2021 only increases the urgency for Flair to drum up support for McMichael to get in the Class of 2024.

“You can put a price on how important it is,” said Flair of McMichael getting to the Hall of Fame. “I’ll tell you right now, I would be very disappointed and I would look at the Hall of Fame in a whole different light.”

Larry Hawley has more from Flair on McMichael and his hopes to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from WGN News Now in the video above.