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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Age is just a number to Fred JacksonBuffaloBills.com, April 15th
You may have heard some of their names before - Walter Payton and LaDanian Tomlinson, among others. “To me, age is just another number,” added Jackson in an interview with Bob Papa and Ross Tucker on Sirius XM. “I still feel like I've got a lot left in...Read more
Looking back on a childhood hero — Arnold PalmerChicago Daily Herald, April 15th
As I was watching the Masters golf tournament, it occurred to me that my first real sports hero, Arnold Palmer, was still going strong at the age of 84. Before sports legends such as Walter Payton, Joe Montana, Mike Ditka, Michael Jordan caught my...Read more
Grantland.com writer rehashes career, retirement of Detroit Lions' Barry SandersDetroit Free Press, April 15th
“I didn't watch him win a Super Bowl, I never saw him break Walter Payton's record. But I watched Barry Sanders play running back and bounce through a hundred different defenses like it was nothing. That's good enough.” Tweet. Email; Print; Share...Read more
RB ExtinctionGang Green Nation (blog), April 14th
How many of these backs have you ever seen in a major advertising campaign? We have come a long way from the days of O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, Walter Payton, Bo Jackson, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Barry Sanders, et al. To put it bluntly, running ...Read more
Train Harder With Hill SprintsSTACK News, April 14th
Walter Payton and Jerry Rice had a secret weapon in their training arsenals: Hill Sprints. They force you to use your body weight as resistance while you run on an incline. Add this exercise to your workout to maximize gains in speed, acceleration and ...Read more
Tomorrow Is Promised To No OneChicagoNow (blog), April 10th
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. I remember the first time I heard the expression “Tomorrow is promised to no one.” I was watching a press conference with Walter Payton who was announcing to the world ...Read more
Fossil Ridge's Tapia named after Walter Payton, says Bo Jackson is the GOATThe Coloradoan, April 7th
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
Payton College Prep Grad Leads Cal Poly in Stunning Run to NCAA TourneyDNAinfo, March 18th
Chris Eversley, a Walter Payton College Prep graduate, led Cal Poly in a stunning run to the NCAA tournament, where it will face Texas Southern in Wednesday's opening round in Dayton, Ohio. Eversley is shown during his days at Payton, where he was the ...Read more