It’s been an emotional day for New Orleans Saints fans, as Sean Payton announced that after 16 years with the organization, he’d be stepping away from his position. There were rumblings surrounding this news all week and this time, it just felt different.
Sure enough, on Tuesday afternoon, the news hit social media. Payton was stepping away and the Saints would be looking for a new head coach for the first time since the 2006 offseason.
Payton then went on to speak to the media for over an hour.
Biggest takeaways from Sean Payton presser
Coaching isn’t where his heart is
Of course, the biggest talking point when this news circulated was that Payton was eventually going to land with the Cowboys. He’s been linked there every year for what feels like forever and it’s something that if it happens down the road, no one will be surprised.
Payton made sure to note that he didn’t like the word retirement and he’s not necessarily finished with coaching. “That’s not where my heart is right now” Payton said.
This could mean Payton takes a year away and joins the Cowboys or another team in 2023. Either way, he didn’t rule out returning to coach a team later on. Just not right now.
Considered stepping away as early as last summer
When asked “Why now?”, Payton said it felt right. He dove in further by mentioning that he started to think of stepping away during training camp last summer but kept it to himself. As the season went on, the thoughts remained and when it came down to it, he felt this was the best time for him to step away.
Shoutout to Dennis Allen
With the news of Payton’s departure, everyone immediately assumed that Dennis Allen would be the next man up. Allen, who is the defensive coordinator, stepped in when Payton couldn’t coach in Week 15 and helped the team win 9-0 over an explosive team.
Payton made sure that Allen got credit in the presser and noted that he’d be “a great candidate”. It’s like he’s read everyone’s mind.
Payton doesn’t hate Eli Apple
Eli Apple has been taking shots at the Saints this week, so Payton took a small jab back at the former NOLA cornerback.
The comment was followed by laughter from Payton and those attending the press conference.
Not about the money
Some people wondered if maybe Payton was initially doing all of this for a raise. He made sure to note that wasn’t the case, as he was only through two years of his initial five-year contract. If he does return to coaching, the team will have to be compensated if another organization wants to hire Payton.
These were just a few of the big takeaways from Payton’s presser and after spending 16 years with the organization, why shouldn’t he have gotten all of the time in the world to say goodbye?
Sean Payton’s legacy with the Saints and in New Orleans is a lengthy one and fans will never forget what this man did for both the team and the city during a tough time. Best of luck to Payton in whatever you decide to do after this!
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