He was one of the greatest running backs ever. He was beloved in Chicago. He had the genteel nickname of “Sweetness.” But it appears that NFL great Walter Payton had much darker side.
According to excerpts released to SI.com from the upcoming book “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton,” author Jeff Pearlman reveals that the Chicago Bears’ star, Super Bowl champ and Hall of Famer had extra-marital affairs, abused pain killers and was, at times, suicidal.
In the book Payton’s longtime agent Bud Holmes says of the running back, “I’d see him walk out of the locker room with jars of painkillers, and he’d eat them like they were a snack…Walter was pounding his body with medication.”
According to the book, Payton’s life was in turmoil as his relationship with his wife Connie crumbled.
Pearlman writes, “Payton said he imagined picking up his gun, murdering those around him, then turning the weapon on himself.”
Payton died in 1999 from bile duct cancer.