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Payton Endures Repeated Blows

At just 5-foot-10 and 202 pounds, Walter Payton was not a particularly big running back for the National Football League. But he set one of sport's greatest records: the all-time rushing record of 16,726 yards. During his twelve-year career, Payton carried the football over nine miles!

What is truly impressive, though, is that he was knocked to the ground on average every 4.4 yards of those nine miles by someone bigger than himself. But he kept getting up, and he kept getting up, and he kept getting up. Great victories await those with great endurance.

After struggling with the rare liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis for several months, Payton died on November 1, 1999, from cholangiocarcinoma at the age of 46. His legacy includes being the namesake of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Walter Payton Award, and a heightened awareness of the need for organ donations.

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