When you stand 6-foot-3-inches and weigh 320 pounds, you tend to get noticed. On the night of last January’s Sugar Bowl, Da’Ron Payne was getting noticed not only my millions of football fans, but by Birmingham artist Steve Skipper. When Da’Ron Payne intercepted the Clemson Tigers in the national semi-final game it was one thing, but when the defensive lineman caught a touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts, well, that would be the stuff of legend.
It was Friday afternoon when the football player met the artist, and what ensued was the unveiling of a special painting that Steve Skipper took over 1,200 hours to complete: Da’Ron Payne, celebrating seconds after he tiptoed into the end zone to help send the Crimson Tide in their way to a spot in the national championship game against Georgia, would set in motion an artist and his brush.
Skipper has celebrated the moment with a special painting, and now the original will remain for the time being at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham.
It seems like yesterday that the shy Payne played football at Shades Valley High School in Birmingham and then matriculated to the Capstone. Now he’s a Washington Redskins rookie after being the 13th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Payne’s future is indeed bright, but his past, in particular his shining moment when a defensive lineman caught a touchdown pass, will forever be remembered thanks to a pair of talents: Da’Ron Payne and Steve Skipper.
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