Friends & Peers Remember #34

"I think Walter's legacy will be that of a man with a God-given ability that got the most out of it at every possible chance. He did it with pride, he did it with dignity, he did it with respect for the game." brother Eddie Payton, the golf coach at Jackson State.

"Walter exemplified class, and all of us in sports should honor him by striving to perpetuate his standard of excellence. The tremendous grace and dignity he displayed in his final months reminded us again why `Sweetness' was the perfect nickname for Walter Payton." NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"He was the best football player I've ever seen, and probably one of the best people I've ever met." Mike Ditka, former Bears coach and current New Orleans coach.

"Walter Payton was an inspiration to me by the way he carried himself on the field and off the field." Dallas running back Emmitt Smith, the NFL career rushing touchdown leader.

NBA great Michael Jordan.
"Walter was a Chicago icon long before I arrived there. He was a great man off the field, and his on the field accomplishments speak for themselves." Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan.

"As far as I'm concerned, I thought he was the greatest. With the teams he played on, and what he did, missing only one to two games his whole career. And, on top of that, he was just a great guy." Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris.

"When I came into the league I looked up to him, not only as a player, but how he handled himself as a person. He will be missed by everyone who was fortunate to have known him." Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.

"He was a great guy, a great human being, a very giving person. It's a real tragedy. We've lost a great man and one of the all-time great football players in the National Football League." Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora.

NFL great Franco Harris.
"Walter hafought a long hard fight for several months. Just as in his athletic career, he was courageous every step." Butch Davis, coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Payton's son, Jarrett, is a running back at Miami.

"He meant so much to the city of Chicago. `Sweetness' there may not have been a better nickname for a player." San Diego Chargers quarterback Jim Harbaugh, a rookie with the Bears in 1987.

"Walter is a great man. He was heavily involved in charitable activities, came into Chicago from a small town, small school, not as well known and really always made a great contribution to the community." Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green.

"He broke all the rules that you've got to be big and powerful to be a power running back. He left as strong on his last run as he did when he first came into the league." Minnesota running back Leroy Hoard.

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