Ten years to the day he died, Walter Payton was honored by the Chicago Bears with a ceremony at halftime of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
The crowd roared during a video tribute that showed highlights of his career and included praise from Mike Ditka and owner Virginia McCaskey. Besides dodging and leaping over defenders, Payton was also known for his work ethic and his tendency to pull pranks.
The video showed that, too.
There was Payton running up a hill in suburban Barrington and setting off a firecracker at training camp, as he was known to do. When the tribute was over, his wife Connie asked the crowd, “Wasn’t that awesome?”
Flanked by their son Jarrett and daughter Brittney, Connie Payton ended her brief speech by saying, “We love you. And one more thing: Go Bears!”
The NFL’s all-time leading rusher when he retired, Payton was first diagnosed with a rare liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis and then cancer before he died on Nov. 1, 1999.
Lewis plans to retire
Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis plans to retire at the end of the season.
Lewis told reporters after the Browns’ 30-6 loss Sunday at Chicago that his 10th season will be his final one, adding, “When I talk, I mean what I say and I think you all know that.”
Lewis ran for 69 yards on 16 carries against the Bears. That gave him 349 this year and 10,456 in his career. Lewis helped Baltimore win the Super Bowl as a rookie during his seven seasons with the Ravens.
Texans lose TE Daniels
The Houston Texans’ offense lost Owen Daniels on Sunday, and the star tight end feared his season might be over after hurting his right knee on Sunday.
Daniels, who entered the game leading NFL tight ends with 497 yards receiving, said he’s scheduled to have tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.
“It doesn’t look good,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “Obviously, (trainers) feel like he may have done some damage. I better be careful, but it does not look good.”
Daniels entered the game leading Houston with 39 catches and five touchdowns.
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