New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan recently spoke out about Sean Payton’s retirement and why he took it ‘personal.’
Jordan, along with many other Saints players, paid his respects to Payton on Twitter following Payton’s announcement that he was taking a break from coaching.
Payton was the only head coach Jordan has ever had in the NFL, and after more than a decade working together, Payton’s sudden retirement must have felt like a cruel breakup that seemingly came out of the blue.
On an episode of The Rich Eisen Show, Cam Jordan said he never saw Payton’s retirement coming:
"We were so locked in on winning and we went on this five or six game losing streak…we were so focused on getting out of the hole and fighting into playoff contention."
The Saints clearly had other worries on their mind. Their playoff spot would be decided in the overtime period of the 49ers-Rams game, and after missing the postseason, Payton leaving dealt another hard blow.
A day or two after Payton announced his retirement, Jordan was tangled up in his emotions and ignored the media’s attempts to reach him.
"I went social media dark. I had to figure out my feelings first. It’s like when your wife asks you, ‘How do you like the new couch?’ I don’t know, I haven’t sat in it."
Saints: Cameron Jordan sees Sean Payton’s farewell as a bittersweet departure
Jordan’s comical analogy aside, he took Payton’s retirement extremely ‘personal,’ asking the question that was on every Saints’ player’s mind: “Why do you have to leave now?”
Payton intimated that he was going on a hiatus but hoped to coach again in the future. Jordan couldn’t help but feel hurt that Payton wanted to leave this current Saints squad after all they’ve been through.
"I took it personal. But then I was like, look, as a business decision, he’s given up 16 years of his life to the Saints…I’ve seen him have the cot in the room, he’d sleep there for multiple days…and tweaking the machine that was the New Orleans Saints offense for so many years. That takes a toll.For Sean to step down, it’s gotta be bigger than football right now. Good for him."
Jordan did express hope in the Saints’ future with newly hired Dennis Allen at the helm, and the two seem to have gotten off to a good start.
After news of Allen’s hire, Jordan apparently texted “DA” and immediately got a text back. His former coach wasn’t so responsive.
"I texted Sean and I didn’t get an immediate text back. Just throwing that out there."
Jordan can take solace in the fact that Payton will probably still cheer on his Saints in 2022, just from the comfort of his own living room.