This story first appeared in the Official Pro Football Hall of Fame 2009 Yearbook.
Payton was the Chicago Bears first-round draft choice in 1975.
He developed into a superstar of unusual dimensions during his 13-season NFL tenure from 1975 to 1987, all of which he spent with the Chicago Bears.
The records he held at the time of his retirement included 16,726 total yards, 10 seasons with 1,000 or more yards rushing, 275 yards rushing in one game against Minnesota (1977), 77 games with more than 100 yards rushing, and 110 rushing touchdowns.
Payton won the NFC rushing title five straight years from 1976 to 1980.
Payton was closing in on the all-time career rushing total of Jim Brown. On October 7, 1984, the Soldier Field crowd was electric that day with anticipation of the record run. The moment came inside the first minute of the second half when Payton picked up six yards to eclipse Brown’s record.
Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He tapped his son, Jarrett, to be his presenter marking another first for the legend. Payton was the first player to be presented by his son.
Walter Payton's Hall of Fame mural.
Walter Payton's Hall of Fame bust.