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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Singletary: I read the Bible with Walter Payton every day while sickFOXSports.com, February 5th
Singletary: I read the Bible with Walter Payton every day while sick. Former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary was by Walter Payton's side during his last months, weeks and days. Getty Images. By Kevin Boilard Feb 5, 2016 at 9:39a ET. 0shares...Read more
Legacy Of Walter Payton Lives On With NFL Man Of The Year AwardCBS Local, February 1st
(CBS) — Six days until Super Bowl 50, one of the guests heading to the big game is Connie Payton, the wife of Bears legend Walter Payton. Payton was one of the most popular players in NFL history, and Connie will help choose the recipient of the Man...Read more
16 iconic Walter Payton photosChicago Sun-Times, January 29th
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the 1985 Bears' Super Bowl win, and the 41st anniversary of Chicago selecting running back Walter Payton with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft. Jarrett Payton: Someone asks about dad every single day...Read more
Saints' Benjamin Watson named finalist for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year awardMaroon, January 27th
After having the best season of his 12 year career in the NFL, Saints' tight end Benjamin Watson was named a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. The award recognizes NFL players who have gone above and beyond to give back to ...Read more
Finalists announced for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year AwardChicago Tribune, January 25th
The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of Commissioner Roger Goodell, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, sports writer Peter King, Connie Payton — widow of Walter Payton — and former players Anthony Munoz and LaDainian ...Read more
Walter Payton: 15 Things You Didn't Know (Part 2)PPcorn (blog), January 16th
We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably did not know about Walter Payton, and now we're back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about the iconic NFL running back that you definitely (probably) did not...Read more
Walter Payton: 15 Things You Didn't Know (Part 1)PPcorn (blog), January 13th
Walter Payton was one of the most iconic running backs in NFL history. “Sweetness” may be gone, but it will still be a long time before he's forgotten. However, despite the fact that Payton spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and under...Read more
1985 Bears Coverage: Payton shrugs off Dickerson matchupChicago Sun-Times, January 9th
The hype about Sunday's big game in Soldier Field is Walter Payton vs. Eric Dickerson, as though it were a heavyweight title fight between Larry Holmes and Rocky Marciano. A TV guy gushed at Payton yesterday that the Bears-Rams duel for the National ...Read more