Expectations are tricky things. Being the son of the greatest running back can lead to expectations, especially if you play the same position. Just ask Jarrett Payton.
Jarrett enjoyed success at Miami, but went undrafted in the NFL. He did sign with the Tennessee Titans and saw some action with them in 2005. Since then, he has played for the Montreal Alouettes, the Toronto Argonauts and the Chicago Slaughter.
While Jarrett has had some success on the field, his career pales in comparison to his father's and even his uncle Eddie's. With or without football stardom, Jarrett has done successful work in a very important area.
Jarrett and his mother Connie and sister Brittney have done excellent work with the Walter Payton Foundation, which is dedicated to helping the neglected, abused and underprivileged children of Illinois. Jarrett's contribution isn't in name only. I have seen him at many events promoting the foundation and meeting the fans. He is active and involved. When I met Jarrett at a sports collectibles show, he was hapily talking and posing for pictures with anyone who approached him.
Jarrett might not have met the expectations to be an NFL star (although those expectations might not have been fair). Still, he is a winner in life and that is truly what matters.
Now, back to the current Bears. Let's hope they start meeting expectations and there is no better time to start than today against the Carolina Panthers and an old Chicago Favorite, Ron Rivera.
Jarrett Payton and me in Rosemont, IL-March 2009.