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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Five ways Thomas Davis exemplifies Walter Payton's legacyExaminer.com, January 27th
Normally, athletes focus on winning awards strictly linked to their domination on the field of play. Carolina Panthers' Thomas Davis, though a beast on the field, may be honored for his charitable prowess off the field at NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 1...Read more
McGrath: Lynch should talk so he's known for more than his funny answersTheNewsTribune.com, January 27th
Start with the ferocious will of Walter Payton, born with the heart of a lion and, at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, the body of a slot receiver. Lynch is 5-11 and 215. Do the math. Lynch combines the determination of Sweetness with the tank-engine force of...Read more
In the FCS Huddle: Garoppolo prepares ... in caseFox News, January 27th
So the former FCS All-American from Eastern Illinois University, who was the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner after throwing for over 5,000 yards as a senior, has to prepare himself for a moment which may never happen. "You've got to play like that...Read more
'84 playoff win on 'Bears Classics'ChicagoBears.com, January 27th
Walter Payton's 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pat Dunsmore on a halfback option gave the Bears a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. On the second play of the second half, Willie Gault caught a short pass from Steve Fuller and turned it into a 75...Read more
McCourty twins honored to be Walter Payton Man of the Year nomineesAsbury Park Press, January 23rd
No sooner had Jason McCourty gained a momentary upper hand on his twin brother by being named a NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee than Devin McCourty learned that he was bestowed the same honor. Devin, a safety for the Super ...Read more
Chicago, You Scored a TD. Act Like Walter PaytonBuilt In Chicago (blog), January 23rd
Recently, I have read a couple of articles about the startup scene in Chicago. In one, Kelly Raymond makes some excellent arguments about why Chicago should be a startup hub. There have been other articles in the past about it. In a closed group on ...Read more
Aaron Rodgers named finalist for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year AwardPackers.com, January 20th
GREEN BAY -- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been named a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the NFL has announced. Rodgers is one of three finalists for the only league award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community ...Read more
Thomas Davis named as finalist for Walter Payton awardCat Scratch Reader, January 18th
Thomas Davis is one of the most perennially underrated players in the NFL, now there's a chance he could get some much-deserved recognition. It was announced Sunday night that Davis is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award...Read more