Lawmakers Honor Walter Payton
Nov. 16, 1999
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Running back Walter Payton was praised as a hero and one of pro football's greatest players in a resolution passed Tuesday by the House.
The resolution, passed by voice vote, proclaimed Payton's achievements and expressed condolences to his family.
Payton, 45, died Nov. 1 of bile duct cancer that was discovered earlier this year during treatment for a rare liver disease.
``Walter's death was untimely and it is important that we pause to remember this remarkable Mississippian and American,'' said Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss. ``Walter was a role model of fairness and honesty. With opened hands he often reached down to the opponent he had just put on the turf and helped him up.''
The bill, introduced by Rep. Charles Pickering, R-Miss., noted that Payton had played his entire 13-year career with the Chicago Bears and had missed only one of his team's 190 games throughout his career.
``In a day when 1,000-yard seasons are commonplace, Payton and Barry Sanders remain the only running backs to do it 10 times,'' said a statement released by the House Republican Conference. ``Others may argue who was the most powerful, the most graceful or the fastest runner. However, no one will argue that Payton was anything other than simply great, consistently great, and he did it every game.''
``The tragic and all-too-early end to his life cannot obscure his greatness, not just as a football player, but as a human being,'' Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., said during debate on the House floor. ``His sweetness will remain with us forever.''
Payton retired after the 1987 season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.