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

Source: Google News

Even if he's No. 1, Husker I-back Terrell Newby will stay hungry
Omaha World-Herald, August 31st

34 because his father, also Terrell, was a Walter Payton fan growing up in Chicago, and Newby watched enough film of the former Bears great to appreciate his running style. One of his favorite high school plays came when he soared over a goal-line pile...Read more

Villanova football at a glance, August 31st

With Walter Payton Award-winning quarterback John Robertson at the helm, the Wildcats have a legitimate shot at winning the national championship. Along with Robertson, the biggest weapon for the Wildcats is running back Gary Underwood, a third team ...Read more

Villanova's national title hopes could hinge on line's development, August 31st

Quarterback John Robertson was unquestionably the best Football Championship Subdivision player in the land last season, which is why the senior returns as the reigning Walter Payton Award winner. But Villanova coach Andy Talley issued a word of ...Read more

Children's Hospital Colorado's Jr. Reporter: Without a doubt, the best day ever! (blog), August 31st

He answered “Sweetness” Walter Payton and he liked Sean Taylor when he was in college. In the backpack that I mentioned earlier there was a white football and I asked David to autograph it for me. Without me asking he volunteered to go to the locker...Read more

College Football Cram Session Preview: 2015 Power 5 Conference CliffsNotes
Grantland, August 31st

in eight consecutive seasons — and his replacement, Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams, appears to be ideally suited to pick up the mantle after finishing as the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award (the FCS's top offensive honor) each of...Read more

Suburban Rundown: Payton coffee, Duchossois selfie
Chicago Daily Herald, August 30th

Jarrett Payton, the only son of legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, tells me Payton Premium Coffee, made by Batavia-based Papanicholas Coffee, will hit Jewel-Osco shelves by the time NFL season officially kicks off Sept. 10. It's the...Read more

UAPB's Rucker wins 2015 Walter Payton Achievement Award
Southwestern Athletic Conference Official Athletic Site, August 27th

The winners of the eighth annual Walter Payton Achievement Award, which is given to one player from each team participating in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, were announced today by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN. The 11th annual ...Read more

Do Unto Others: The Only Leadership Advice You'll Ever Need
Forbes, August 5th

“My father told me when I was young that it was your responsibility, once you've had some success, to reach back and bring someone with you,” Walter Payton said to me. And these were words by which he lived. Like the greatest companies in sports and ...Read more