"I want to be remembered as the guy who gave his all whenever he was on the field."
—Walter Payton, NFL Hall-of-Fame Running Back
How you play the game defines you as an athlete. Win or lose, those who sacrifice their bodies to give 100 percent effort during every second on the clock will ultimately be judged successful.
Coaches favor players who go over the top to help their teams. They look for athletes who are not only willing but eager to take on the unglamorous assignments that are critical to winning games—e.g., setting picks, run blocking, killing penalty minutes, laying down a sacrifice bunt.
One NFL Hall-of-Fame player who relished such humdrum tasks was legendary Chicago Bear running back Walter Payton. Yes, the man was a magical ball carrier, but "Sweetness" also took pride in executing lesser tasks, like blocking down field for a teammate, running off defenders to open up a passing lane, or staying in the pocket to protect the quarterback. Whatever he could do to help his team win, Number 34 accepted the challenge and gave his total effort.
Payton's passionate style of play was evident whether he had the ball or not. In an interview for NFL Films, he once said, "I was a runner [who] wouldn't die easy. If you give up, you'll get killed. So I realized that you can't give up until the whistle is blown."
Never one to shy away from contact, the powerful RB delivered a hit on defenders whenever he had the chance. Stiff-arming, spinning, diving or simply lowering his shoulder, Payton refused to go down without a fight. During his 13 years with the Bears, his "Never Say Die" mindset helped carve his name in the record books. At one time, the nine-time Pro Bowler held NFL records for rushing yards [16,726], rushing TDs , rushing attempts [3,838], yards from scrimmage [21,264] and all-purpose yards [21,803].
Want proof on why Walter Payton was one of the toughest NFL players of all time? Watch the video below.
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