July 25, 2017 marks what would have been the 63rd birthday of Walter Payton, who is one of the greatest football players to ever don a helmet and strap on shoulder pads.
Following an illustrious collegiate career at Jackson State, Payton was drafted by the Chicago Bears (4th pick in the 1975 NFL draft) and would go on to become a Pro Football Hall of Fame member, as well as being inducted into the Jackson State Sports Hall of Fame, the SWAC Hall of Fame, the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
While at Jackson State, Payton established himself as one of the best running backs in the country. He rushed for more than 3.500 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry, and set the school record for career rushing touchdowns with 65. In 1973, he posted a school record 24 rushing touchdowns and was named the Black College Player of the Year. He won the award for a second time in 1974 and was also selected as an All-American. In addition to his rushing duties, Payton was also a fierce blocker and he kicked field goals and extra points for the Tigers.
He started his legendary pro career in 1975 with the Chicago Bears. He recorded 16,726 career rushing yards (4.4 yards per carry), 110 rushing touchdowns, 492 receptions for 4,538 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
Walter was born on July 25, 1954 in Columbia, Mississippi. He was one of three children born to Peter and Alyne Payton.