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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Shock Lose on Final Play Off the Net vs. Cleveland
KHQ Right Now, April 19th

The Shock offense hit their groove and Meyer found Thompkins thrice and Tennell on the sideline bring the ball to the Gladiators' 10, but the former Walter Payton award winner couldn't get rid of the ball on fourth down and was sacked at the 15 to give ...Read more

Cook overcomes family struggles for NFL opportunity
Youngstown Vindicator, April 19th

Wolford's first major recruit was a running back named Adaris Bellamy, a former South Florida recruit who told reporters he wanted to win the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in the FCS. Instead, he spent the next three years as...Read more

Greatest Detroit Lions By Number: No. 20
Rant Sports, April 19th

During each of Sanders' 10 seasons in Detroit, the Hall of Fame running back recorded more than 1,000 yards and when he retired, Sanders was 1,457 yards shy of the all-time record set by Walter Payton. Despite his individual success, the Lions would ...Read more

Do old-guard NFL owners hold enough ill will over USFL lawsuit to block Donald ...
New York Daily News, April 19th

The only exceptions in the top 23: Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Jim Brown. LaDainian Tomlinson gave the Jets 914 yards rushing (six TDs) and 52 catches for 368 yards in his first year (2010) with them. LT was two years older than Johnson is now...Read more

Head-to-head: The 'other' QB options (subscription), April 19th

The case for Jimmy Garoppolo: The 2013 Walter Payton Award winner, the Heisman Trophy for FCS players, after throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 53 touchdowns, he has drawn a lot of comparisons to EIU alum Tony Romo. Neither is a physical ...Read more

7 Walter Payton Awards — 6th in Big Sky's top 50 moments
The Missoulian, April 17th

OGDEN, UTAH – For 27 years The Sports Network has honored the top football player in the FCS with the Walter Payton Award. No conference can claim as many winners as the Big Sky Conference. Since the award's inception, six league quarterbacks and a ...Read more

Good Cause: Jarrett Payton bags tournament to fight bullying
Naperville Sun, April 16th

Life as Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton's son might not be as easy as some would think. While Jarrett Payton's parents taught him to be grateful for all he had been given and how important it was for him to give back, he still had to face those who...Read more

Fossil Ridge's Tapia named after Walter Payton, says Bo Jackson is the GOAT
The Coloradoan, April 8th

Fossil Ridge High School senior Payton Tapia is a standout wrestler and baseball player, a rare combination for a high school athlete. Tapia, a catcher, has signed to play Division 1 baseball with the University of Northern Colorado. He's batting .385...Read more