Sean Payton revealed his decision to step away Tuesday, 16 years after he was hired as the New Orleans Saints’ coach, though he stressed multiple times that “retirement is not the right word.”
Payton, 58, said he doesn’t plan to coach another team in 2022, adding, “That’s not where my heart is right now.” And since he has three years left on his contract, the Saints would have to agree to trade compensation if he wanted to coach another team.
However, Payton didn’t rule out a return to coaching in the future. And he said he is interested in pursuing a TV analyst job, though he insisted that neither he nor his agent Don Yee have talked with any media outlets yet.
“I don’t know what’s next — and it kind of feels good,” Payton said during an emotional 90-minute news conference at the team’s practice facility. “But, man, I felt like it was time. … But not with any regret. There’s some excitement, like, ‘All right, what’s next?'”
Get all the latest Betting and Sport News updates on your social media outlets.
Payton explained that he had been considering this departure all the way back to training camp before confirming how he felt over the past two weeks. He said owner Gayle Benson, general manager Mickey Loomis and team president Dennis Lauscha all tried to talk him out of it. And he thanked Benson for encouraging him to go on vacation for the past two weeks before making a final decision.
The Saints are now the ninth NFL team with a head coaching vacancy.
Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. are two obvious candidates for a possible promotion, considering the Saints just posted their fifth consecutive winning season and aren’t necessarily looking for an overhaul.
Payton mentioned Allen by name while explaining that he and the Saints never discussed any sort of arrangement where he might possibly come back after a one-year hiatus.
Payton admitted that he searched the internet Monday night for tips on how to avoid crying during a news conference.
He started by singling out Benson, Loomis and Lauscha individually, calling Loomis “one of my best friends.” And he presented Benson with a piece of king cake — a traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras dessert — saying it was his version of TV character Ted Lasso’s biscuit tradition.
Payton made his mark as the winningest coach in Saints history and one of the NFL’s all-time great offensive minds. The Saints signed Brees two months after Payton was hired in 2006, and they led New Orleans to the first Super Bowl triumph in franchise history in 2009.
Check WagerWeb and find the best online betting site.