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NFL Sunday Outtakes: Walter Payton teaches rookie a lesson


By Tim Graham

Darryl Talley is such a prolific talker that I'm still trotting out blogs six days after I interviewed him for a story that ran in Sunday's paper.

In this week's final installment of "NFL Sunday Outtakes," a series of blogs to share quality leftovers from my Sunday morning features, Talley recalls his pro debut and the lesson he learned about keeping his mouth shut during a game.

The Buffalo Bills opened the 1983 preseason schedule against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Talley, a second-round draft choice, was across the line of scrimmage from Walter Payton.

"Payton slips out of the backfield," Talley said of the play that brought his first contact with the iconic running back. "I made the tackle. He caught the ball outside the numbers, and I just pushed him out of bounds.

"Ben Williams came over to me and said, 'I know that's Sweetness out there. But you want to play in this league, son? You've got to make that play!' This is during the game. So I got pissed off. I said, 'Fine.'

"A little later, I hit Payton hard and he fumbles the ball. Payton gets up off the ground, pats me on the ass and says, 'Good play, young fella. I'll be right back.' I said, 'You'll be right back?' He said, 'Yeah, our defense is going to give me the ball back.' The Bears got him the ball back and he gashed us for about 40 yards.

"He said, 'I told you so.' I was, like, 'OK, so you know when you can talk s--- and when you can't.' "

Talley laughed hard at the memory.

"I got excited because I hit the great Walter Payton and the ball came out," Talley said. "That excitement didn't last very long. He came back out and gashed us.

"That's when I learned you don't say a lot to anybody when you're playing. If you're beating somebody's ass, you just keep kicking their ass and kicking their ass. Don't talk to them. Because the minute you open your mouth, they can come back and spank you."

(Photo: Associated Press)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |