Thirteen seasons with the Chicago Bears brought good luck to running back Walter “Sweetness” Payton. Drafted fourth overall in 1975, the stutter-stepping All-American from Jackson State University broke Jim Brown’s career rushing record in 1984, and ended his career as the NFL’s leader in rushing yards—Emmitt Smith subsequently broke Payton’s record in 2002.

After retiring at the end of the 1987 season, Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Well respected both in and out of football circles, Payton should have had a long and rich post-football career, but his time was cut short when he died in 1999 from cancer caused by a rare liver disease.

In his honor, the city of Chicago added organ-donor information to its vehicle registration mailings, a cause that Payton had championed in the last months of his brief but brilliant life.

Payton’s 1976 Topps rookie card is one of the most collectible football cards of the postwar era. Also highly prized is the Payton card from a 33-card set that Topps produced for Holsum Bread. In 1977, Payton and Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson appeared on a card together, and in 1979 Payton was paired with Houston Oilers running back Earl Campbell.

Because Payton missed the rapid rise in autographed merchandise in the 21st century, signed Payton collectibles are relatively rare, causing the prices for his signed number-34 jerseys and both his Riddell team and commemorative Hall of Fame helmets to be somewhat higher than those of his peers.


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Recent News: Walter Payton Memorabilia

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Would David Fair make your top 5 MS high school RBs?
Jackson Clarion Ledger, October 22nd

Q: Give me your top five high school running backs to come out of Mississippi? A: Number one has to be the late great Walter Payton. Number 2 of course is Marcus Dupree. I will put myself No. 3. Then Ronnie Ducksworth and I would say Keffer McGee No. 5...Read more

Marshaun Coprich named to Walter Payton Award Watch List
Vidette Online, October 14th

Illinois State University junior running back, Marshaun Coprich, has earned a spot on the Walter Payton Award Watch List, presented by The Sports Network. Coprich has rushed over 100 yards in each of the Redbirds' five games this season along with ...Read more

Prukop added to Walter Payton Award watch list
NBC Montana, October 14th

Prukop added to Walter Payton Award watch list. After back to back outstanding offensive performances, Montana State quarterback Dakota Prukop has been added to the Walter Payton Award watch list...Read more

Happy Anniversary: Walter Payton breaks Jim Brown's rushing record
CBSSports.com, October 7th

Jim Brown might still be considered the greatest running back of all time. Or you could think about Barry Sanders or O.J. Simpson or Emmitt Smith. But on this day 30 years ago, another one of the best and maybe the greatest ever, the Chicago Bears' own ...Read more

NU's Fitzgerald has high praise for Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon
Chicago Tribune, October 3rd

To a generation of Chicago football fans Walter Payton was unmatched. From the late 1970s to the early '80s, he was about the only reason to watch the Bears. "He was the best," said Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, born in 1974 and raised in Orland...Read more

Pat Fitzgerald Compares Wisconsin Running Back Melvin Gordon To Walter ...
College Spun, September 30th

There aren't many higher compliments that someone from Illinois can give a football player than comparing them to Walter Payton, and that is exactly what Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald did when discussing Wisconsin star Melvin Gordon. Northwestern ...Read more

ASU's Cyrus Added to Payton Award Watch List
Southwestern Athletic Conference Official Athletic Site, September 30th

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama State running back Malcolm Cyrus (Autaugaville, Ala./Autaugaville) has been added to the Walter Payton Award Watch List, sportsnetwork.com announced Tuesday. The Payton Award honors the most outstanding player in the ...Read more

Johnson Named To Walter Payton Watch List
Gilmer Mirror, September 30th

NACOGDOCHES – Stephen F. Austin senior running back Gus Johnson has been added to the 2014 Walter Payton Award Watch List, announced today by The Sports Network. Johnson is looking to follow in the footsteps of his current position coach, Jeremy ...Read more