FBI reveals 1982 death threat against Chicago Bears great Walter Payton


CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 29: Running back Walter Payton #34 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Washington Redskins during an NFL football game September 29, 1985 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Payton played for the Bears from 1975-87. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO — The FBI has revealed a death threat against Chicago Bears great Walter Payton in 1982, that prompted a federal investigation.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, an anonymous letter sent to “Sweetness” was mailed to the team’s Lake Forest offices. The letter contained a death threat and the FBI was called in to investigate.

Dated Jan. 6, 1982, the letter starts out with “Dear Mr. Payton,” but quickly gets to the point, saying: “When or if ever I see you and a mutual friend of yours . . . I am going to KILL both of you.”

The outcome of the case was not described.

It was not the only time Payton was threatened. He also received threatening phone calls in the 1970s. One of the calls, made in 1978, warned that he might be shot.


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