By Eric Schmidt

The October 3rd issue of Sports Illustrated will be filling mailboxes and hitting store shelves soon. Contained in the most recent issue is an exclusive interview with author Jeff Pearlman who recently wrote a book about Chicago Bears RB Walter Payton. Pearlman has written, The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton.

According to the advance preview I read this afternoon, Pearlman paints a less than flattering picture of one of the greatest players in NFL history. The advance copy of SI I read today states that Pearlman took nearly 3 years to write his book and interviewed over 700 people. What he reveals is shocking.

According to the author, Payton had a long time mistress. Payton had a chronic drug problem, making “cocktails” of Tylenol and Vicodin and topping it off with hits of nitrous oxide throughout the day. The author also writes about how Payton called his agent at all times of the day or night, threatening to kill himself. You can get a primer of the article here.

I normally do not read these tell-all books, but Walter Payton is from my childhood years, and I grew up idolizing him. There is not one running back in today’s era which carries a team the way Payton did during his playing days. Of course, the passing game was not as prolific then as it is today, but Payton WAS the Chicago Bears just as Peyton Manning is/was the Indianapolis Colts.

A portion of me is sad that Pearlman felt compelled to write such a book. I suppose it’s not surprising in today’s environment of gotcha journalism, always someone wanting to dig up dirt on someone. I’ll read this, all the while taking everything with a grain of salt since Walter is not around to defend himself. I just wonder why Pearlman felt that this was a book which needed to be written.





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