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METAIRIE, La. New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson acknowledged on Monday that coach Sean Payton’s status remains uncertain for the 2022 season, as she told local reporters: “I do not think any of us know, but he will tell us soon enough. . “
The NFL Network reported on Sunday that Payton had not yet committed to return to coach the Saints in 2022. Sources confirmed to ESPN that he has not made any final statement – although he was expected to return to work this week together with the rest of the Saints’ coaching staff after a vacation last week.
Payton, 58, is under contract until 2024, which means a trade must be made for him to coach another team. However, several businesses, including ESPN, have reported that television networks have shown significant interest in Payton if he decides to withdraw from coaching.
Benson, speaking at a Mardi Gras-related event, answered a question about Payton’s status by saying“We do not know. You know who knows? We’ll find out soon enough, I think.”
The organization does not appear to be pushing Payton for an immediate commitment, giving him time to decompress after a grueling year.
The Saints missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons with a record of 9-8 in 2021. But in many ways, it ranked among Payton’s most impressive coaching job given quarterback Drew Brees’ retirement; a list exhausted by major damages, pay cuts and COVID-19 problems; and a hurricane evacuation to Dallas in the first month of the season.
In Week 18, Payton recognized how trying the season was.
“This stretch has been, I do not want to say exhausting, but it has been one of those where you just get on to [next task]. Nothing surprises you, “Payton said.” When you go all the way back to the start of the season, it feels like 2½ years ago, we evacuated to Dallas during the hurricane. I mean, it does not feel like it’s part of this season.
“I’m trying to find a good way to describe it. Like, there’s a certain bar or a certain temperament for news that you usually have. And when it then keeps coming and coming and coming via text message or in meet as soon as the bar is raised because you just keep hitting the side of the head. And at some point you have to smile and then bend over a bit and still get ready for the challenge. “
If Payton move on, the Saints would likely consider both defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. as potential replacements – though they would certainly also explore options outside the building.
Payton is at number 21 in NFL history with 152 career wins, according to the Pro Football Reference. His career record is 152-89 (.631 winning percentage), not including his season-long suspension in 2012 due to the league’s bounty survey. Payton are 9-8 in the offseason, including the only Super Bowl win in franchise history in 2010.
Payton has also marked itself as one of the league’s big offensive heads. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Payton and the Saints rank first in NFL history in both points scored (27.6 per game) and yards (391.2 per game) among all coaching-team combinations with at least five seasons combined.
Payton’s lifetime is a rarity in today’s NFL. Only the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick has been with his team anymore. Payton also had four seasons with 11 plus wins in its second decade with the Saints. Only three other coaches have done so in the Super Bowl era: Belichick (nine), Tom Landry (eight) and Don Shula (six).