Sports

Sean Payton interested in NFL coaching return: ‘right situation’

Many professional athletes get the itch to return to the field after retiring — and some do.

It is no different for coaches. Just ask Sean Payton.

Payton, who works for Fox Sports this season after resigning from his job as a coach with the New Orleans Saints in January, said he would be interested in returning to NFL head coaching in 2023 if that’s the “right situation.”

“If the right situation came up, I’d definitely be interested,” Payton said on the NewOrleans.Football podcast, which was posted Wednesday. “And there is no utopia, if you will, when it comes to teams, but if I felt it was the right situation, I would be interested in that. That said, that could come in a year, that could come in two years.”

Payton, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl title with a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, has a career record of 152-89 (0.631 win rate), excluding his 2012 season-long suspension. -8 playoff record. Off to a 1-1 start, the Saints hired Dennis Allen, who was Payton’s defensive coordinator, as their next head coach.

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Sean Payton
AP

Payton, 58, said he should share the same vision with the team and the front office.

“The most important element is functional ownership [and] front office… because there’s a handful of teams that aren’t, and those teams, no matter what happens, they can win on Sunday, but they’re struggling to win in the long run,” he said. “The chance to win consistently and the willingness to build the right culture and all those things.”

Payton, who was New Orleans head coach for 16 seasons, has two seasons left on his Saints contract after the 2022 season. That means if he took NFL coaching next season, his new team would have to compensate the Saints.

Payton said he enjoys his performance at Fox Sports but felt the pull of being back on the sidelines as he watched the Saints-Buccaneers Week 2 match, which Tampa Bay won 20-10.

“Last weekend’s game against Tampa was the first time I played a version of FOMO . had [fear of missing out],” he said. “I was jealous of everyone who was there, including random Bruce Arians on the sidelines.”

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Arians, 69, who stepped down as head coach of the Buccaneers before the season to become senior assistant to general manager Jason Licht, stood on the sidelines for Sunday’s game and was cautioned by the NFL for his behavior.

Payton said working for television allows him to recharge his batteries, much like he did in 2012 when he was suspended for a season by the NFL as a result of the league’s premium investigation. The movie ‘Home Team’ — starring Kevin James — was based on Payton’s life as coach of his son’s soccer team during the one-year ban.

“Hopefully I’m pretty sure this is” [time away from the game] does the same,” Payton said.

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