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    New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton Steps Away After 16 Years

    Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints coach, has chosen to leave the team, making the announcement earlier this Tuesday. Payton made it clear several times that “retriment is not the right word.”

    The 58-year-old head coach explains he does not want to coach any other teams in 2022, adding, “That’s not where my heart is right now.” Payton remains with three years remaining on his contract, meaning that the Saints would have to agree to compensate if he decided to coach for another team. On the contrary, Payton never ruled out a return to couching down the line. He mentions that he may consider an analyst job on television.

    “I have no idea what the future holds, and it’s quite liberating,” expressed Payton during a heartfelt 90-minute press conference. “But, man, I felt like it was time. … But not with any regret. There’s some excitement, like, ‘All right, what’s next?'”

    Payton discussed his consideration of departing from the franchise back in training camp. Several of the Saints management and ownership attempted to speak him out of his decision. However, it had zero effect on the outcome. Payton even thanked Saints owner Gayle Benson for encouraging him to go on vacation for the past couple of weeks before making his final decision.

    “It’s a mix of emotions today. I truly believe he earned this,” expressed Benson. She mentioned that the team will extensively search for Payton’s successor, considering candidates from within and outside the organization. “I have confidence that we’ll make an excellent choice in finding someone who can lead us as effectively as Sean did.”

    Payton’s thoughts and impact on the New Orleans Saints

    The Saints have joined a group of NFL teams that now have vacancies for head coach positions. The two standouts for possible promotion have to be the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator for the Saints. Payton referred to defensive coordinator Dennis Allen when explaining that no further discussions took place about his return after the one-year break.

    “I want to be fair to Dennis, who is a strong candidate within our organization, as well as any potential coach we might hire. In this game, you can’t be half-hearted,” Payton emphasized. He also emphasized his belief that the team is still on the right path. “We often talk about the importance of leaving a place better than when you arrived. Our work here is not done yet,” he added.

    Payton has always expressed his sense of humor while coaching for the Saints. During the press conference, he admits to searching the Internet for tips on how to avoid crying during a news conference.

    Payton’s legacy is cemented

    Payton made his mark in Saints history and is one of the NFL’s greatest offensive coaches of all time. The Saints signed Brees shortly after Payton was hired in 2006. He later guided the Saints to their inaugural Super Bowl triumph in 2009. He’s tied for the 21st in NFL history with 152 career victories, per ESPN. Although Payton is 9-8 in the postseason, he ranks first in the NFL history in average points scored and yards gained per game among all other coaches.

    The Saints just missed the playoffs due to the Los Angeles Rams not defeating the San Franciso 49ers. However, this season represented how great of a coach Payton was. He found ways to win and come up just a game short without his newly retired quarterback Drew Brees. Not to mention, a load of injuries and COVID-19 issues the team dealt with this past year.

    Payton assured everyone that his departure has no relations with this past year. Payton’s long tenure in New Orleans is uncommon in the league. New England Patriots Bill Belichick is the only coach who’s been on his team longer. Payton also had four seasons of 11 or more wins in his second decade with the Saints.


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