Walter Payton Chicago Bears
"It’s not about money. It’s not about statistics. It’s about the romance kindled by playing the game the way it was supposed to be played."
Walter Payton, the Chicago Bears' first-round choice and the fourth player selected in the 1975 National Football League Draft, 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 5-10, 200-pound running back who rushed for 3,563 yards in four seasons at Jackson State went on to dominate the rushing section of the NFL record book during and long after his career ended.
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 had 4,368 combined net attempts and accounted for 21,803 combined net yards. He also scored an impressive 750 points on 125 touchdowns.
Payton won the NFC rushing title five straight years from 1976 to 1980. He also led the NFC with 96 points in 1977 and won the NFL kickoff return championship in his rookie 1975 campaign. He was named both All-Pro and All-NFC seven times and played in nine Pro Bowl games. Payton was selected as the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1977 and 1985, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1977 and 1985 and the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1977.
An amazing runner, Walter rushed for more than 1,000 yards 10 of his 13 seasons. His best season came in 1977, when he ran for 1,852 yards, third best in history at that time. Payton's 492 career pass receptions for 4,538 yards and 15 touchdowns contributed to his exceptional combined net yard totals.
Extremely durable, Payton missed one game in his rookie campaign and then played in 186 consecutive games.