The Life & Legacy of ‘Sweetness’ Explored in Walter Payton: A Football Life Thursday, October 13 At 10:00 PM ET On NFL Network

Friends, Family, Teammates and Admirers Chronicle the Life of One of the NFL’s Most Distinguished Figures

“Give me the heart of Walter Payton. There’s never been a greater heart.” – Jim Brown

As the fourth subject in the critically-acclaimed series ‘A Football Life,’ NFL Network presents the story behind the man affectionately known as ‘Sweetness’ in Walter Payton: A Football Life Thursday, October 13 at 10:00 PM ET.

Payton’s humble nature, unmatched talent and memorable smile made him an everlasting image in the NFL’s history and standard of excellence in the minds of players and fans both past and present. Yet behind the accolades, the life of an individual often described as ‘Superman’ included challenging moments both during his career and while adjusting to life after football. The NFL Films-produced Walter Payton: A Football Life examines the life of ‘Sweetness’ and the legacy of the Bears running back, built from an unyielding ‘never die easy’ will that defined him from the days of running hills in suburban Chicago to his untimely passing in 1999.

Personal thoughts and recollections of Payton are shared in A Football Life from a number of individuals including:

Connie Payton – wife of Payton

Jarrett Payton – son of Payton

Brittany Payton – daughter of Payton

Jim Brown – Hall of Fame running back

Mike Ditka – Former Chicago Bears head coach

Ashton Kutcher – Actor and Bears fan

Jeff Pearlman – Author of Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton

Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens linebacker

LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets running back

Emmitt Smith – Hall of Fame running back

Matt Suhey – Former Bears teammate

Walter Payton: A Football Life is complete with stories of Payton’s tough adjustment to Chicago and the Bears from Jackson State University and the disappointment of not gaining a single yard in his first NFL game to breaking Jim Brown’s rushing record nine years later. The documentary also delves into the mixed emotions surrounding his role in the Bears 1985 Super Bowl championship, his struggle to fill the void football left behind following his retirement in 1988, the incredible bond with fullback Matt Suhey and how his spirit lives on in the lives of friends, family and fans today.

To view the trailer for Walter Payton: A Football Life, please click on the link below:

The following are select quotes from Walter Payton: A Football Life

“Once you put wisdom with will, on top of talent, you get what you call ‘Sweetness.’” – Ravens LB Ray Lewis

“Walter Payton is the epitome of greatness. I have all the admiration in the world for him.” – Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown

“Michael Jordan changed the game. Walter Payton didn’t change the game, he just played it better than anybody else.” – Ashton Kutcher

“If I had it to do over now, knowing what I know now, of course I would have done it differently. I didn’t realize it meant that much to him. And after finding out that it did, yeah, I would say it’s my biggest regret.” – Mike Ditka

“I probably prayed for him more than anybody because I loved the guy. I had not even met him before, but he was so inspirational.” – LaDainian Tomlinson

“He believed his duty was to play football. That’s what he was put on this earth for. I believe in my heart that when God made a football player, he made my father.” – Jarrett Payton

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles (CBS’ The Good Wife), lends his voice to the series.

Airing exclusively this fall, NFL Network debuts A Football Life – a new biography series offering a look inside the untold stories of NFL icons. Each installment focuses on the life and career of provocative subjects intertwined in the fabric of NFL history. Part 1 of Bill Belichick: A Football Life, which premiered on September 15, became the most-watched documentary in the eight-year history of NFL Network. Forthcoming episodes include a profile of the passion of Mike Ditka and the vision of NFL Films founder Ed Sabol. For additional information on the series, blog posts from NFL Films producers, and much more, please visit:

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