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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Why We Still Love the NFLNational Review Online (blog), September 22nd
We loved Fran Tarkenton scrambling, Barry Sanders darting, Lance Alworth floating, Ray Nitschke hitting, Dan Marino throwing, Brett Favre and Warren Sapp jawing and laughing — and the incomparable Walter Payton, never too much the superstar to stay in ...Read more
Blue Raiders quickly turn focus to Old DominionThe Daily News Journal, September 21st
The 6-foot-1 senior was the Walter Payton Award winner in the Football Championship Subdivision in 2012, which is known as the Heisman Trophy on the FCS-level. Heinicke guided ODU to its first C-USA win in its first game in the league on Saturday by ...Read more
Lucas Beatty Tabbed FCS National Offensive Player of the Week By College ...Gardner Webb University Bulldogs, September 21st
He hit on 4-of-6 passes to spark the 10-play, 59-yard march, eventually connecting on the game winner to All-America receiver and Walter Payton Award candidate Kenny Cook from five yards away and just 2:04 remaining in the game. Beatty completed six of ...Read more
Tillman's always had his priorities straightRedEye Chicago, September 21st
The past few weeks have been rough on anyone who calls themselves a football fan. I won't bore you with the names that have become synonymous with what is wrong with the NFL. However, if we are going to discuss football players who are doing the ...Read more
Jackrabbits roll past UW-Oshkosh, 41-3KSFY, September 20th
BROOKINGS, S.D. — South Dakota State scored touchdowns on three consecutive offensive plays in the first quarter, including two by Walter Payton Award candidate Zach Zenner, and head coach John Stiegelmeier became the school's career wins leader ...Read more
Chicago Bears Top 100: #1 Walter PaytonBearGoggles, September 7th
After some debate over the #1 ranking, we decided that it could only be Walter Payton. The Bears wouldn't be around to root for if not for George “Papa Bear” Halas, but Walter Payton was one of the greatest players in the NFL history and it seemed...Read more
AAMU Offensive Lineman Alan Cruz Wins 2014 Walter Payton Achievement AwardWAAY, August 31st
ORLANDO, FL (ESPN Events) - The fans have spoken. The 2014 Walter Payton Achievement Award winners are Alan Cruz from Alabama A&M University, and Quentin Todd from North Carolina A&T State University. The ESPN voting poll opened July 24 and ...Read more
Walter Payton teamed up with Razor Ramon 20 years ago todayChicago Tribune (blog), August 29th
Jarrett Payton noticed something different about his dad – Bears legend Walter Payton -- as he escorted WWF Superstar Razor Ramon to the ring in 1994 for his Summer Slam match at the United Center: His arms were enormous. Sure, Walter had always ...Read more