Going to step away from Detroit here so cut me a break. 11 years ago this week the football world or the world as a whole lost one of the greatest players and humans to ever walk the earth. Walter (Sweetness) Payton whom played on the classic 85 Chicago bears team died on November 1st 1999 at the age of 45. He went to 9 NFL pro-bowls and a 6 time First team All pro selection and a 3 time second team selection. He was the 1977 NFL MVP. The 1978 Pro Bowl MVP and was elected to the NFL 75th anniversary team. At Jackson state he played along side Jackie slater were he broke the NCAA college career TD record by rushing for 65 TDs. In 1996 Walter was inducted to the college football hall of fame. Sweetness was also announced as part of the inaugural eleven member class of the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
1975 Walter Payton was Drafted by the Chicago bears with the 4th overall pick. When the Bears won the super bowl in 1985 Walter was shockingly held with no touch downs. His coach Mike Ditka states to this day that one of his biggest regrets in life was not getting Payton a TD in that game. In 1980 Walter and his wife had there first child. Current IFL running back Jarrett Payton who plays for the Chicago Franchise owned by Walters former QB Jim McMahon. They also had a daughter brittnay in 1985. In Novemeber 1999 Walter Payton passed due to complications of liver disease. Even to the end Walter being the great person he was using the disease to help advocate organ transplants.
Paytons Legacy is still alive with the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation. Still advocating for Organ transplants and donations. The NFL now presents the Walter Payton man of the year award. This award is givin to players for the great things they do off the field Drew Brees being of the most recent winners. Walter held MANY records in the NFL many of which have sense been broke or tied by Hall of fame players themselves. Emmit Smith, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson and even the young Chris Johnson. This was not written as a fourm to discuss how Barry was a better RB or How Walter played for the evil Bears. I just felt like it was a good idea to show some respect to someone who was the epitomy of what every NFL player should want to be. A great player and a great person. While we all love the Lions there is no doubt Chicagos #34 was truly one of the greatest ever. Tonight the NFL will wrap up there top 100 players of ALL TIME. I hope all who get a chance take the time to watch this as Walter will be presented by a former Lions coach none the less.
Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one. - Walter Payton