'I don't know what's next': Sean Payton stepping down as Saints coach
NEW ORLEANS - Sean Payton, who helped rebuild the Saints organization after Hurricane Katrina and led the franchise to its first-ever Super Bowl win, has told the team he's leaving after 15 seasons in New Orleans.
Payton held a news conference Tuesday afternoon where he made the announcement official, just hours after reports of his exit first began circulating online.
"I don't know what's next," Payton said. "I don't like the word retirement... 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, maybe in the future. But that's not where my heart is right now."
The news comes just a season after quarterback Drew Brees retired from football to take up a broadcasting gig with NBC Sports. The Saints finished an injury-plagued 2021 season at 9-8, just barely missing the playoffs in the final week of the regular season.
Rumors circulated for the past week that other teams were angling to draw Payton away from the Saints, but it's unclear whether he plans to return to coaching in the future.
Payton is not necessarily permanently retiring but deciding to take a break after 16 years as Saints coach. No word yet on immediate plans, though sources have told ESPN TV networks are interested. Payton under contract through 2024 so another team would have to trade for him.— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) January 25, 2022
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