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Sweet Memories.

The recent death of NFL legend Walter Payton caused us to recall his visit to Little Rock several years ago.

One of our whisper correspondents rounded the corner from his office and came face to face in the hallway with the running back great.

"How are you doing, Mr. Payton?" our intrepid reporter said, as he extended his hand in greeting.

The man nicknamed "Sweetness" grinned and met the handshake with a firm grasp. His huge hand seemed to be twice as large as our man's.

Though friendly, Payton seemed a bit distracted and uncertain of himself.

It was a bit out of character for a man who played football with such confidence and abandon, who strode the gridiron with such elusive grace and tackler-punishing style.

(Sorry for the digression, we were experiencing a momentary NFL highlights flashback.)

What was the cause of the anxious expression that chased away Payton's warm smile?

The now immortal words of the Hall of Famer, who holds the career rushing mark at 16,726 yards, speak for themselves.

"Hey, can you tell me where a guy can take a pee around here? I need to go really bad."

Our man in the hallway imagined himself as the lead blocker for Payton as he instructed him to "Follow me. I was headed that way myself."

The few yards to the men's restroom of Little Rock's Heritage West Building were likely the most important ground Payton covered that day.
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Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Nov 8, 1999
Words:243
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