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He's still Sweetness

Perhaps Payton wasn't an angel but where is the shame in that?

Updated: September 30, 2011, 3:37 PM ET
By Michael Wilbon | ESPNChicago.com

Let me start by saying that Walter Payton was my last childhood athletic hero. There had been Ditka and Butkus and Sayers before him, when I was a little-bitty kid, but I was 16 when Payton was a rookie. The Bears had been, well, dreck pretty much since I was 4 and there were no illusions of serious contention during his first few years either. But his prolific performances, particularly in his breakout 1977 season, let us stop grieving the early departure of Sayers and undoubtedly lifted the ...

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