The New Orleans Saints bade farewell to legendary coach and long-time leader Sean Payton on Tuesday. Here are some of the players’ emotional responses on social media.
Payton announced he was stepping away from the team to take a break from coaching, though a career in media could still be in his near future.
Some players, like Demario Davis, showed up at his last press conference and exchanged words and a final embrace with Payton. Other players showed their support on Twitter, relaying their best and favorite memories with the revered Saints head coach.
Many of their responses note how Payton took a chance on them when no one else would, and for that, Payton will always have the love and respect of his current and former players.
This is what they had to say:
Alvin Kamara starts chopping onions first with his tender tribute to Payton on Twitter:
Kamara will likely stay with the Saints in 2022, but losing Sean Payton is nothing short of heartbreaking. We wouldn’t be surprised if players consider other options this offseason.
New Orleans Saints players from all eras show their gratitude to Sean Payton
Speaking of players with uncertain futures on the team, Michael Thomas also paid his respect to Payton:
As did quite a few notable former Saints, who remember what Payton did for them:
Payton touched the lives of so many players, and he deserves to leave — or at least temporarily step away from — the Saints franchise on his own terms.
No matter what he does or where he goes in the future, he will go down in NOLA history as a coaching legend who stuck by the team in the face of every challenge imaginable.
Thank you, Sean Payton, for gifting us with a supremely beautiful era of football.
Payton didn’t get a proper Superdome send-off, but hopefully New Orleans plans for a ceremony next season.