Payton only played two more seasons following the Super Bowl season of 1985. The season of 1986 saw him rush for 1333 yards. His Bears went on to win their division again but they failed to beat the Washington Redskins in the playoffs. It was at the close of this season that Payton would tell the world he would play just one more year. The 1987 season would be his swan song.
His final season in the NFL was a low point for Payton. He had only 533 yards rushing yards and saw his hopes for a second Super Bowl dashed at the hands of the Redskins in the playoffs. This writer remembers that game very well. At its end, you could see Payton on the bench holding his head in his hands in the cold of that January day. It would be the last time Payton would put on a Bears uniform. How surreal.
Payton ended his career in the NFL with the Bears and Chicago was the only team that he played for. His final numbers were 16,726 yards on the ground an NFL record at the time. He scored 110 touchdowns. Payton caught 492 passes for a total of 4,538 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He helped break many Chicago records including the ones for most receptions, touchdowns, rushing yards and even touchdown passes by someone other than a quarterback.
One of the more interesting things about Payton’s 13 year career with the Bears was his durability. It’s a fact that he only missed just one game during his entire time playing in Chicago. One single game. Compared to the players of today, that is a mark of excellence. He was very durable, very reliable and one of the most athletically gifted performers in the history of sports.