Jarrett Payton ready to make himself known

When tragedy occurs, things in your life are really put into the proper perspective. When Walter Payton passed away, his son, Jarrett, became that much more motivated to succeed.

Jarrett Payton, a running back on the Hurricanes football team, and son of the legendary Walter Payton, got off to a rough start this season when he missed the first game due to injury. Yet, with Willis McGahee dealing with the wear and tear of being an every down tailback, Payton may start to get more opportunities.

“Life is all about obstacles and getting back into things. My dad always told me nothing comes easy, and my mom told me that my time is going to come and I just have to be ready,” said Payton.

Jarrett Payton is a very gifted running back, and is just waiting for his opportunity at Miami. However, perhaps the best thing about Jarrett is the kind of person that he is off the field.

“If you work hard and are nice to people, people will respect you. That’s why I get along with everyone so well,” said Payton.

Jarrett Payton just has this likable quality about him. He works hard at everything he does, and he has goals for himself. He wants to work at the Walter Payton cancer foundation, and open a music-recording studio.

“Music is my love besides football. If football was taken away, I would get into that,” said Payton.

The influence that Walter Payton had on the football world as a whole was tremendous. “Sweetness” has also influenced his son to always work hard, both on and off the field.

“My father has influenced me as a person, not only in sports, but just being able to work hard, has helped me in school and in sports,” said Payton.

Walter Payton was a businessman as well as a great football player. When he died, the Payton family had to deal with that shock to their life. However, just like Walter always rose to the challenge, the Paytons have actually become stronger as a result of Walter’s untimely passing.

“I think we have become a lot stronger as a family. We were close, but when you have a father who plays football and is a businessman who is gone all the time, it’s hard to get close as a family. It’s too bad it took him passing away for us to get a lot closer,” said Jarrett.

Now the family is left with all women and Jarrett. As the only man of the house, Jarrett is dealing with new challenges, and he is even more motivated to succeed for his mom and his sister.

“Being the only man of the house is motivation because I want to play well for them. I don’t play football for myself, I do it for my mom and my sister – those are the two who love what I am doing. I love the game, I do it for me too, but those are the two people I strive to work hard for,” said Payton.

Emmitt Smith is approaching Walter Payton’s all-time career rushing yards record and has already passed Payton’s all-time career rushing attempts record. He is closing in on Payton’s record, but Jarrett has no bad feelings towards his father’s record falling.

“I love Emmitt, he reminds me a lot of my father. I’ve always felt that records are meant to be broken, and if he does it, he does it. I never thought it would happen though,” said Payton.

Through personal hardships, tragedy, and injuries on the field, Jarrett Payton has remained confident, and his positive attitude and hard work is what makes him so great, both on and off the field.

You can reach Darren Grossman a

October 1, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.