Walter Payton will go down as one of the best running backs to play in the NFL and the best running back in Chicago Bears franchise history. Payton played his college football career at FCS Jackson State. The Chicago Bears selected him fourth overall in the 1975 NFL Draft.
After being drafted with the fourth overall pick, Walter Payton went on to play 13 successful seasons with the Chicago Bears. Payton had many nicknames like Little Monk, Spider-man, and Sugarman. One that stuck was sweetness, Walter Payton's brother said he got the nickname sweetness from his soft, high-pitched voice.
Walter Payton's 13-year career in the NFL was filled with a ton of success and a lot of accomplishments. With that being said, let's take a look at how Walter Payton became one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Walter Payton's 13-year career with the Chicago Bears
Walter Payton started his career off with rushing for 679 yards and seven touchdowns on 196 carries. The momentum carried from his rookie season to his second year where he rushed for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns on 311 carries. The Bears knew that they had something special happening with Walter Payton as their running back.
After his rookie season, Payton rushed for over 1,000 yards in six straight seasons, and four of those seasons he had double-digit rushing touchdowns. It only took Walter Payton two seasons to win his first award in the NFL. In 1977 Walter Payton brought home the NFL AP MVP, NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year, and the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Walter Payton was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl in back-to-back seasons in 1976 and 1977. He was also selected in the NFL First Team All-Pro in 1976 and 1977. After a slow year in 1982, Walter Payton picked up the pace in 1983 rushing for 1,421 yards and six touchdowns on 314 carries.
Payton went on to record three straight seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards. In 1985 Walter Payton won the Bert Bell Award for being the Player of the Year in the NFL. Payton retired after the 1987 NFL season.
He has been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st team All-1970s Team, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1st team All-1980s Team, and the NFL 100 All-Time Team. Payton was selected to nine NFL Pro Bowls and five First Team All-Pro teams throughout his 13-year career.