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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Alabama State's Malcolm Cyrus Makes Walter Payton Award Watch ListHBCU Sports, 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
Fitz compares Melvin Gordon to Bears' Payton: 'He runs like Sweetness'Comcast SportsNet Chicago, September 30th
Melvin Gordon is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten, but he got even higher praise than that Monday from his next opponent. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald was asked who Gordon reminded him of. His answer raised a few eyebrows...Read more
Delaware Looks To Build On Big JMU Win Saturday vs. Sacred HeartCBS Local, September 30th
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Delaware Blue Hens will be back home on Saturday as they welcome Sacred Heart to town. The Blue Hens sit at 3-1 and they are developing a flare for the dramatic this season. On Saturday in their CAA opener, they went down ...Read more
How Jarrett Payton is Giving Kids More ConfidenceMichigan Avenue Magazine, September 29th
Charitable giving is a family legacy for Jarrett Payton. “My dad started the Walter Payton Foundation, which turned into the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation in '99. [He] started out giving $500,000 in gifts to the State of Illinois, and they didn't...Read more
Barry Sanders' 1997 season: Shades of Joe DiMaggioNewsOK.com, September 29th
Walter Payton in 1985, Fred Taylor in 2000, Deuce McAllister in 2003, Larry Johnson in 2005 and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 each rushed for at least 100 yards in nine straight games. Marcus Allen had an 11-game streak in 1985-86. And Barry Sanders ...Read more
Payton lives up to his namesakeGoshen News, September 27th
“Before every game I was highlights of Walter Payton on my phone.” This is Carson's first season as the varsity signal caller, but he is still wearing No. 34 on his jersey. “I wear the number in honor of Walter and was not going to change because of...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