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Kevin Kelly was in the middle of a late-night workout when he saw Walter Payton approaching.
Afraid he had bothered the man Bears fans worshiped, Kelly readied himself to leave at a moments notice. Much to his surprise, Payton not only wanted him to stay, he asked if he’d be up for an impromptu training session. Kelly quickly agreed.
Afterward, Sweetness handed the 17-year-old Barrington high schooler his number with an invitation to do it again. Kelly took the piece of paper, believing it was a generous parting memento.
Little did he know that would be the beginning of a lifelong friendship.