‘Our family is truly honored’: Jarrett Payton reflects on newly unveiled Walter Payton statue

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears honored two of their legends Tuesday with new statues at Soldier Field.

Statues for Walter Payton and George Halas now have a permanent home outside the stadium.

The Payton family was on hand for the ceremony and Jarret Payton expressed how much the statue means to him.

“Our family is truly honored,” he said. “to the park district, to the city of Chicago, the Chicago Bears, the McCaskey Family for giving us this opportunity to be able to keep our dad in his second home. And now people will be able to go there and see him forever.”

Jarrett Payton said the family worked closely with sculptor Chad Fisher to capture Walter Payton’s likeness.

“From the way he taped his shoes, to all the clothing that he wore … it was amazing to see it from the beginning to the end,” he said. “But one thing that stood out was the face. The face looked like he was about to blink and walk right off. … he brought him to life.”

Jarrett Payton described the emotion he felt the first time he saw the clay sculpture and said, “Everybody left the room and I was there for about 10 minutes just sobbing… I was talking to my dad. Just feeling like he was there and having that moment was just so special to me.”

Jarrett Payton also said Fisher included small details to honor the whole Payton family.

“On the back of his left leg, all the grandkids’ initials are on the back. You’ll be able to see,” he said. “And if you look up, above the back of his shoulder pad on the right, you’ll see my initials, my mom’s initials, and my sister’s initials. Those will be there forever.”

WGN-TV will premiere “Savoring Sweetness: The Life & Times of Walter Payton” on Wednesday, September 4 at 7 p.m. On this 20th anniversary of his passing, WGN-TV will look back at one of the greatest running backs, Chicago Bears and men of all time through the eyes of his teammates, family and friends

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