clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Twenty years ago today we lost Walter

Remembering the greatest football player of all time.

Walter Payton - Chicago Bears - File Photos Photo by James V. Biever/Getty Images

Twenty years ago today we lost the greatest football player that ever lived, Walter Payton.

There wasn’t anything on the football field that “Sweetness” couldn’t do, and anyone that was a Chicago Bears’ fan during his thirteen years in the Windy City (1975–1987) came to love the passion he played the game with.

Watching the relentless way he ran is the reason I became a Bears fan and it’s why to this day he’s still my favorite professional athlete.

During February of 1999, he announced that he had a rare liver disease, and even though his condition was too far gone for a transplant, he spent his last months encouraging people to become organ donors. He was only 45-years-old when he lost his battle with cancer.

I wanted to share a couple quotes of Walter’s that always resonated with me.

“If you ask me how I want to be remembered, it is as a winner. You know what a winner is? A winner is somebody who has given his best effort, who has tried the hardest they possibly can, who has utilized every ounce of energy and strength within them to accomplish something. It doesn’t mean that they accomplished it or failed, it means that they’ve given it their best. That’s a winner.” ~ Walter Payton

“Never die easy. Why run out of bounds and die easy? Make that linebacker pay. It carries into all facets of your life. It’s okay to lose, to die, but don’t die without trying, without giving it your best.” ~ Walter Payton

I also wanted to share a Twitter thread from earlier this year about Payton form our own Jack M Silverstein, because I know not all of you do the social media thing, and Jack has mastered the medium as a way to tell stories.

Also, Jack captures the way we all feel about Walter Payton better than I ever could.