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Walter Payton remembered on his 62nd birthday

We revisit Payton’s style and legacy

Sneak away from the monotony of your work day today and do a Google video search for Walter Payton. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday would have been his 62nd birthday, after all, and you deserve some “you” time.

The Walter Payton-style running back — bruising, durable, workhorse — is indeed a thing of the past. It’s why we loved Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, whose style most resembled that of “Sweetness” — a back who punished defenders, who initiated contact and who perfected the shoulder dip.

Mike Ditka, who coached the former Jackson State University star during the last half of an illustrious 13-year NFL career, called him “’the very best football player I’ve ever seen, period, at any position.”

Payton’s son, Jarrett, admitted in 2011 that it’s not always easy to be the son of a famous person — particularly in sports. But he embraces the legacy his father left behind. “It’s truly an honor,” said Jarrett Payton, who proudly champions the two awards in his dad’s honor: the Walter Payton Achievement Award, which is affiliated with the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given annually by the NFL honoring a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field.

“It’s something I carry proudly. But my dad always told me, ‘Be better than me,’ ” Payton said. “And I knew what he was saying. It was more off the field than on the field. We just wish that he was around.

“We miss him.”

We all do. Happy birthday, Sweetness.

Mark W. Wright is a Charlotte-based sports journalist and documentarian.