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Walter Payton

Related Biography: Football Player Mike Singletary

By Walter Payton's side in the final days of his life was longtime teammate and friend, Mike Singletary. The two spent the final weekend of Payton's life praying and reading scripture. After the death of his friend, Singletary told the Associated Press that even at the end, Payton refused to talk about dying. "He had dealt with that," said Singletary, "but he didn't want to talk about that. Walter was the kind of individual who refused to think, 'Why me, why now?' He just continued to look forward."

Born in Houston, Texas, on October 9, 1958, Singletary grew up the son of a strict Christian minister who preached against such sins as wearing shorts and playing sports. As a boy, Singletary was forbidden to play sports and barred from a number of other school and neighborhood activities as well. The year that Singletary entered junior high school, his minister father ran away with another woman, leaving the family in shock and confusion. Singletary took advantage of the ensuing confusion to join the school's football team and quickly made up for lost time. His spectacular performance on the defensive squad at Houston's Worthing High School caught the attention of scouts from Baylor University, and he was offered a scholarship.

A football sensation at Baylor, Singletary was named Southwest Conference Player of the Year in both 1979 and 1980. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft. In his 12 seasons as a linebacker for the Bears, Singletary won the affection and respect of his fellow players and coaches. He enjoyed probably his finest season in 1985-1986 when he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and NFC Defensive Player of the Year by United Press International. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. Singletary lives with his wife Kim and three children outside Chicago.

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Famous Sports StarsFootballWalter Payton Biography - Born In Columbia, Mississippi, Joins Track Team As Long Jumper, Chronology, Named Ncaa Leading Scorer Of All Time