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Walter Payton - NFL Hero

Updated on August 24, 2015

NFL Great Walter Jerry Payton was born in Columbia, Mississippi, on July 25, 1954. He played football for the NFL's Chicago Bears. He is remembered by most as the best running back in the history of football. Payton was a nine-time Pro Bowler and at one time held the NFL's record for the most rushing yards in a career as well as carries, touchdowns and a few others.

In 1993, Walter Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Walter Payton was described by fellow NFL player Mike Ditka as the best football player he has ever laid eyes on but he was an even better human being.

Walter Payton's football career began in Mississippi where he succeeded in collegiate football at Jackson State University. The Chicago Bears in the fourth overall pick of the NFL Draft selected him in 1975. Peyton went on to win NFL Player of the year two times. He also played with the Chicago Bears the year they won Super Bowl XX.

NFL Great Walter Payton (Sweetness)

Walter Payton held an active membership in Little League, his local church as well as the Boy Scouts. While he was a student at Jefferson High School, he played the drums in the marching band, was a long jumper on the track team and sang in the choir. When he was not in school, he played the drums for some jazz groups.

For his first year in high school, Walter did not play on the football team. Mostly because his big brother Eddie was on the team and Walter did not want the conflict. After his brother graduated, Walter accepted an invitation to play on the football team on the stipulations that he remain in the band as well.

Once he started to play football, Walter was instantly successful as a running back his junior year. Walter Payton won state honors as a player on the Mississippi all-state football team in a winning season of 8-2.

Even though he was obviously one of the best running backs in the state, Walter did not receive an invitation to the Southeastern Conference. Therefore, Walter chose to attend Jackson State University where he had more that 3,500 rushing yards with an average of 6.1 for each carry. Walter broke the scoring record for the NCAA by rushing sixty-five touchdowns in a college career. He got the nickname "Sweetness" which was a compliment to his ironic discipline and grace.

During his first season in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Walter finished the season with just under 680 yards and only seven successful touchdowns. Eager for improvement the following year, Payton scored 17 touchdowns and more than 1,000 rushing yards. In 1977, he was chosen as Pro Bowl MVP. The next year, he scored 16 touchdowns and over 1,850 rushing yards.

Throughout his professional football career, he received several awards including the Associated Press MVP, Pro Football Writer's of America's MVP. Sadly, Walter Payton was inflicted with a rare liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis and on November 1, 1999, at the age of 45, Walter Payton died.

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      6 years ago from Arlington, GA

      i love your article and the videos to go along with it.


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