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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Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders was one of the best to ever play the game. Sanders was invited to the Pro Bowl after each of his 10 NFL seasons and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet, Sanders' departure from the game remains ...Read more

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Behind the Steel Curtain (blog), May 28th

While Jim McMahon enjoyed the finest season of his career, Walter Payton enjoyed yet another stellar season, this one ending with his long Super Bowl victory. In that Super Bowl, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and the rest of the Bears defense put the ...Read more

What I Know About Tomorrow
ChicagoNow (blog), May 27th

I had grown up watching Walter Payton. I have watched a lot of great athletes but by far, he was my favorite and it was a treat to watch him play. Being a kid and watching number 34 take the field every Sunday was something that was as dependable as...Read more

Jarrett Payton joins WGN News as sports reporter/host of new CLTV sports show
WGN-TV, May 8th

A former professional football running back, he is the son of Walter Payton. Payton was previously signed as an undrafted free agent by the NFL Tennessee Titans and also played for the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts in the CFL. He played for...Read more

VIDEO: Record-Setting Laurent Robinson Finalist For Walter Payton Award, May 8th

ABOVE VIDEO: Laurent Robinson was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top offensive college football player in I-AA. His college legacy culminated in being voted on to the conference's quarter-century team...Read more

Sanderson scholar-athlete counts Walter Payton as role model
News & Observer (blog), May 3rd

Sanderson's Emmanuel Jackson clears the last hurdle to win his heat of the boys 300 meter hurdles race. High School track teams converged upon Garner High School for the Wake County Track Championships in Garner, N.C. on April 11, 2015. | STEVEN ...Read more

TBT: 40 years ago Bears drafted Walter Payton, April 30th

It was then that the club called up a running back by the name of Walter Payton out of Jackson State to let him know the Bears were going to draft him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft. While at Jackson State, Payton ran for more than 3...Read more