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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Riley joins A listBengals.com, February 27th
Look at the world of black college football through a 21st century lens and you might as well be gazing at the moon. So strange, so full of wonderment, and so far away. Eddie Robinson. Richard Dent. Willie Davis. Lem Barney. Leroy Kelly. “Walter Payton...Read more
Ryan grad Edwards could get to make Romo feel oldDenton Record Chronicle, February 27th
He has met Emmitt Smith and was in the building when the Hall of Fame running back broke Walter Payton's rushing record. Those are the benefits of having a father who was drafted by the Cowboys in 2000 and spent four seasons playing cornerback for the ...Read more
Off-season readin': Walter Payton's AutobioBearGoggles, February 26th
Finally, I've come to the book about Sweetness – Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton by Walter Payton with the help of sports author, Don Yaeger. One would think an autobiography would be written following the rules of the others...Read more
The Man Amongst MenThe MMQB, February 5th
Thomas Davis didn't play in Super Bowl XLIX, but the Carolina Panthers linebacker still made an impact on Super Bowl weekend. On the eve of the big game, Davis received the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and used his platform to send a ...Read more
Rodney Harrison's Marshawn Lynch comps: Jim Brown, Walter PaytonNew York Post, January 31st
He kinda reminds me a little bit of Jim Brown … kinda Walter Payton, the way he kinda high steps, the physicality. … The sweet part about Marshawn is this is a time where running backs really start to wear down. He just now starts to get stronger...Read more
Thomas Davis named Walter Payton Man of the YearNFL.com, January 31st
In April 2014, Davis received the Call to Courage Award, given annually to a Christian athlete who displays exemplary character through both adversity and triumph. Davis is a four-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, and was a finalist in 2013...Read more
49ers' Anquan Boldin NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year NomineePro Player Insiders, January 30th
Anquan Boldin is not only one of the most valuable players on the field, but also one of the most impactful community leaders on the 49ers. He is a finalist for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in Arizona, the...Read more
Walter Payton Can Show NFL's Marshawn Lynch True StardomBloomberg, January 30th
It was Walter Payton, the Hall of Fame running back, who proceeded to provide some much-needed analysis. Even though Payton struggled with personal issues after retirement, that encounter still dominates Sports Line's image of the man nicknamed ...Read more