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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Torrey Smith the Ravens' nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year AwardBaltimore Beat Down, December 18th
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award's purpose is to recognize players that go the extra mile in their respective communities. Smith has been someone to frequently partake in charitable events around the Baltimore area, including a Toys for Tots...Read more
Vernon Named Dolphins 2014 Walter Payton Man Of The Year NomineeMiamiDolphins, December 17th
The award, named after the late Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, is given annually to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community involvement. Olivier Vernon has been getting more and more recognition for ...Read more
Anquan Boldin nominated for Walter Payton Man of the YearNiners Nation, December 17th
On Tuesday, the NFL released a list of 32 finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Each team submits a player, along with a rundown of why they are deserving. The San Francisco 49ers submitted wide receiver Anquan Boldin as their nominee...Read more
Chiefs' Tamba Hali named one of 32 nominees for Walter Payton NFL Man of the ...fox4kc.com, December 17th
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has announced the 32 players eligible for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Among the nominees are Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Dallas running back DeMarco ...Read more
COVER9@9: Bryant named team's 'Walter Payton Man of the Year'Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog), December 17th
BRYANT WINS TEAM'S PAYTON AWARD: FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons place kicker Matt Bryant was named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year at the Falcons Community Honors Dinner held at Ray's on the River on Monday. Bryant regularly gives ...Read more
Villanova quarterback John Robertson wins 2014 Walter Payton AwardNCAA.com, December 16th
Monday night, Robertson's legacy grew into FCS history as he won the 28th Walter Payton Award, which honors the outstanding player in the division. The redshirt junior received the Heisman of the FCS at The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet and ...Read more
Walter Payton nominees announcedESPN, December 16th
NEW YORK -- The NFL has announced the 32 players eligible for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. [+] Enlarge Aaron Rodgers. Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Aaron Rodgers is one of 32 nominees up for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year ...Read more
Nova QB tapped as top FCS playerESPN, December 15th
PHILADELPHIA -- Villanova Wildcats quarterback John Robertson won the Walter Payton Award on Monday night as the best player in the Football Championship Subdivision. "I have never been a part of a team that played with so much passion," said ...Read more