About Jarrett Payton
Jarrett Payton, son of the late NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton, is a television host, motivational speaker, businessman, philanthropist, former NFL and CFL running back and devoted husband and father. Currently, he is the host of WGN's GN Sports program and sports anchor for WGN TV Evening News broadcasts. He has also been a contributor/host to various WGN/Nexstar online shows including Big Game Bound during the NFL season and Legends of the Big Game an annual special airing the week before the Super Bowl.
His success in the business world continues to grow. Payton has been involved with several business ventures outside his media profession that also keep him busy. His most passionate project is his partnership in the Flagship on the Fox sports bar in downtown Saint Charles. Other business ventures have included his partnership with PapaNicholas Coffee to create Payton Premium Coffee Sweetness Blend and the Payton Premium Coffee Rise and Grind Blend among others. The phrase “rise and grind” is mirrored from his daily motivational tweets that reach more than 130,000 people each morning via social media @paytonsun.
Jarrett made the transition into coffee after spending four years in the craft beer brewing business with his custom Jarrett Payton’s All-American Wheat Ale. He was inspired to create his own beer from earlier memories of his father’s appreciation for craft beer.
Along with honoring Jarrett’s father’s legacy of making a difference in the community, he is now focusing on connecting with children, serving as a role model and stressing the importance of sports, education and character through numerous public speaking events. Jarrett and his wife Trisha are the co-founders of The Jarrett Payton Foundation (JPF). The Foundation is committed to positively impacting the lives of children and adolescents by creating and providing programs that present them with a wide variety of opportunities specifically designed to develop their leadership skills and enrich their lives. He also dedicates time to The Walter & Connie Payton Foundation which is dedicated to taking an active role in helping those less fortunate to find stability while providing positive opportunities needed to live their lives with dignity and pride.
Blending Jarrett’s business success and JPF, in 2014 he teamed up with Cy Fredrics Jewelers to create JP by Cy Fredrics—unique jewelry designs for men and women. The pieces designed were individually numbered and produced only 34 times—the number his late father, the Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton wore and was ultimately retired by the Chicago Bears. And for Walter Payton fans, some of the pieces have the number 34 woven into the design. JPF was a benefactor of the proceeds.
Jarrett’s own career in athletics started at an early age. Following a successful high school soccer and football career in the Chicago area, he was recruited by major universities, including Penn State and Notre Dame, to play football. The result: Having an illustrious career at the University of Miami where Jarrett appeared in five major bowl games and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2004 Orange Bowl.
After college, he went on to play in the NFL for two years with the Tennessee Titans and the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe, winning the 2005 World Bowl championship. From 2007-2009, Jarrett played in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts. In 2010 he signed with his hometown team, the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League.
Jarrett’s football career transcended into a successful sports television and radio career. For the 2012 college football season, he appeared on the ESPNU SportsNation College Football show each Saturday. Jarrett has appeared numerous times on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (now called NBC Sports Chicago) and hosted his own Internet sports radio show, The Jarrett Payton Show, on ChicagolandSportsRadio.com. Jarrett continued his involvement in radio as co-host of the “Jarrett, Harry and Spike” radio show on Chicago’s former station The Game 87.7FM and a contributor through WGN Radio’s Sports Central on WGN Plus.
Jarrett’s passion for public speaking dates back to August 1993—the day the world met Walter’s son. He made the introductory speech for his father when Walter was inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. Since then, Jarrett is sought out to connect with all age levels, particularly in the business community to motivate, inspire and impact others. Payton also engages with many audiences through his motivational speaking engagements.
As an active participant on social media, friends and fans connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and connect to his foundation on their website or on Facebook. He currently resides in the western suburbs of Chicago with his wife, son and daughter.