MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Some would say that it is very difficult to find one's identity in the shadows of a famous parent. Jarrett Payton proves those theories can be wrong throughout his life with heart, courage, and persistence. Son of NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, "JP" remembers when his father would say "be better than me" meaning off the field rather than on.
Payton loves connecting with children and created the Jarrett Payton Foundation which is committed to positively impacting the lives of children and adolescents through sports, education and character. Helping young people recognizing bullying and prevent it while providing positive opportunities needed to live their live with dignity and pride.
JP was only 12 years old back in 1993 when delivered his dad's induction speech to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Standing in front of thousands of people, he was honored to be the first to congratulate his father on his induction day. That day stands as a precursor for all the days he would live life and take each one head on. Playing football at the University of Miami and then in the NFL and other leagues that would take him to places some people only dreamt about. "When I wake up in the morning, I'm pretty content with what I did in my career and places that I got to go and play. Football took me all the way around the world," Payton recalls in an interview in 2011.
Living on his father's legacy through one of the most prestigious awards in the NFL, Payton is the face of what the award is all about. Every year, each team nominates a player who shows his excellence on and off the field. This year's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award was given to the Houston Texan's J.J. Watt who raised more than $37 million for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Even through social media, Payton inspires everyone to be their best, everyday.
Some may say it is hard coming out of the shadows of a famous parent, but Jarrett Payton and the way he lives his life can be seen as an inspiration for anyone to become "better than me".