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Statement on the Death of Walter Payton

November 01, 1999

We were saddened to hear of the death of Walter Payton. In the long highlight reel of this life cut short, Walter Payton will always be a man in motion: breaking tackles, breaking records, clearing every obstacle in his path. From the first day he donned the uniform of the Chicago Bears in 1975, until his retirement 13 years later, Walter Payton missed only one game, and that was because the coach ordered him to rest his ankle. He followed a long line of great Bears running backs and became the greatest of them all. The record books confirm that. But individual triumphs would never mean as much to Walter Payton as a victory he could share with his teammates and with the fans who endured, season after season, the icy winds of Soldier Field. Walter Payton would not stop running until his Bears were as great as the Bears of old, until they had again won the Super Bowl, which they did, in dramatic fashion, in 1985.

Walter Payton faced his illness with the same grit and determination that he showed every week on the football field. The people of Chicago and all Americans who love the game of football will miss him profoundly.

We would like to offer our condolences to Walter's wife, Connie, and to their two children, Jarrett and Brittney. Our hearts are with them today.

NOTE: This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary as a statement by the President and the First Lady.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Death of Walter Payton Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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