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Fun Facts About Football's Gridiron Greats

Walter Payton #5

Walter Jerry Payton "Sweetness" was a running back for 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears. Mike Ditka the Bears Head Coach once stated that Walter Payton was the greatest player to ever play the game of football. Payton's childhood was filled with the Boy Scouts, Little League, and Church. Born July 25, 1954, in Columbia, Mississippi Walter stood Five Foot Ten Inches tall with a weight of 200 pounds. 

He started his sports career at Columbia High School in Mississippi. For college, he chose the Jackson State University Tigers a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. In the 1975 NFL draft Walter was picked fourth overall in the first round. Payton was a punishing runner, running over anyone in his path.

When it was all said and done Sweetness had gained 16726 yards on NFL defenses he faced. Walter won Super Bowl XX is a highlight reel with many awards. He held many NFL records up until recently. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl Selection, he was on the First Team All-Pro for seven years and Second Team once. 

The AP Associated Press honored him with the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1977. Like all the greats Payton took home the Bert Bell Award in 1985. Twice Walter was selected as the NFC National Football Conferences Offensive Player of the Year and in 1977 he was on top taking the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and also the Man of the year. Football Digest picked Payton as the NFL's Running Back of the Year in 1977. 

1977 also saw Walter win the NFL rushing title in both yards gained and touchdowns scoring. He was an active player form 1976-1979 with more rushing attempts than anyone else. Walter Payton was picked for three all-time teams. Those include the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.  His number 34 Chicago Bears Jersey was retired.

Other statistics that standout are a 4.4 Yard gain per carry, 110 rushing touchdowns. Payton could also catch the ball hauling in 492 pass receptions, he scored 15 touchdowns threw the air. His total receiving yards ate 4538, giving him over 20000 combined Yards. Walter Jerry Payton was inducted into the College Football Hall of fame and the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. 

He would die six years later in South Barrington, Illinois, on November 1, 1999, he was age 45. He passed from liver cancer.

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