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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Top 100 moments in NFL historyFanSided, November 24th
The NFL floods the realm of opposites. Where else could the brutish strength of Jack Lambert share a field with the grace and beauty of Lynn Swann? In what other sport could two men, Jim Brown and Walter Payton, play the same exact position in such ...Read more
Walter Payton Man of the YearNFL.com, November 20th
A 1991 recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Munoz continues giving back to the people of Cincinnati and the surrounding communities today through the work of his charitable organization, the Anthony Munoz Foundation. The Munoz ...Read more
Walter Payton's 275 Yard Game in 1977SportsBlog.com (blog), November 20th
On November 20, 1977, Walter Payton rushed for a then-single game record of 275 rushing yards. It was on this day that Payton broke the record for the Chicago Bears that had been set by O.J. Simpson, who had rushed for 273 yards in a game a year before...Read more
See why Bears rookie RB Langford is being compared to Payton, SayersFOXSports.com, November 16th
Langford joined Hall of Fame running backs Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only other player in Bears franchise history to finish a game with at least 100 receiving yards, a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown, according to ESPN's ...Read more
Jeremy Langford joins Walter Payton and Gale Sayers after impressive gameChicago Sun-Times, November 15th
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 15: Jeremy Langford #33 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 15, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip ...Read more
1985 Bears Coverage: Walter Payton on the mendChicago Sun-Times, November 12th
Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears' run to a Super Bowl title. Walter Payton on the mend. Herb Gould. 15 of the funniest athlete mugshots · 38 incredible NFL ...Read more
Former Bears players talk about Adrian Peterson in comparison to Walter PaytonChicago Sun-Times, October 29th
Every week of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1985 Bears by speaking with players from the team including Jimbo Covert, Dan Hampton, Dennis McKinnon and Otis Wilson. With the ...Read more
Jonathan Stewart's relentless style evokes memories of idol Walter PaytonESPN (blog), October 29th
It's a style he admired in his childhood hero, the late, great Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears. “Just his relentlessness of running the ball," Stewart said of Payton. “He just [had] that extra edge to him when he had the ball ... the desire to not...Read more