Saints head coach Sean Payton steps down after 16 years
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to step down from his role after a 16-year tenure at Caesars Superdome, as per AP News.
Payton took the position in New Orleans back in 2006 and is leaving with a 152-89 regular-season record, one Super Bowl title in 2009, and nine playoff appearances in 15 seasons.
“I don’t like the word retirement,” Payton said Tuesday afternoon at the announcement event. “I still have a vision for doing things in football. And I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year, I think maybe in the future. That’s not where my heart is right now.”
The 58-year-old is actually still under contract with the Saints until 2024, where he signed a 5-year contract extension in September 2019. If Payton is hired by another NFL team before 2024, his new team would have to pay compensation to the Saints.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Payton realized he needed to reassess his priorities and decisions in life, including his time in New Orleans.
“I felt the time was right — for me,” Payton said. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about. … Not many get to choose their terms. And I looked at it as an opportunity to see my kids more, to travel more, to get in better shape.”
Saints owner Gayle Benson initially wanted Payton to stay, however, on Tuesday the coach seemed to have made up his mind.
“I was surprised and it really is a bittersweet day,” Benson said. “I feel like he deserves this. … It’s been a wonderful ride.”
In terms of who’s next to take the helm, the Saints board of executives will set their eyes on a person who will continue what Payton has done so far in New Orleans.
“We’re going to make a thorough search and choose the right person. … We’re going to do a great job in choosing another person that’s going to be able to lead us the way Sean did,” Benson said.
History will remember Sean Payton for the 2010 Superbowl win but I know New Orleans will remember him for helping rebuild the spirits of the city when they needed it most. #WhoDatNation
Patrick Sean Payton is an American football coach and former player who is the head coach of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League .wikipedia
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans.wikipedia
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Dennis J. Allen is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League .wikipedia