Payton, Walter Jerry, 1954–99, American football player, b. Columbia, Miss. He played at Jackson State College (now Jackson State Univ.) in Mississippi before being drafted as a running back by the Chicago Bears in 1975. He spent his entire career with the Bears and set many records, including all-time rushing yards (16,726; now surpassed), most 100-yard rushing games (77), and most yards gained rushing in a game (275; now surpassed). Noted for his durability, Payton was the National Football League's most valuable player in 1977 (the youngest player to win the award) and won his only Super Bowl in 1985. He retired in 1987.
See his autobiography, Never Die Easy (2000).
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