Sean Payton isn't leaving New Orleans just yet! At a press conference where seemingly all Saints organizational personnel from owner Tom Benson on down were in attendance, Payton announced New Orleans was, "where I plan on coaching." He added, "I look forward to where we're going (as a team)," and praised the Bensons and general manager Mickey Loomis for the strong relationship he has developed with them over his 10-year tenure as Saints head coach. He went on to say, "I'll be here for as long as they'll have me."
Sean Payton's end-of-season press conference was originally scheduled for 1pm CT but was pushed back to 2pm shortly before the original time. No reason for the delay was given and this led many to believe a big announcement was coming. This was his first press conference since immediately after the team's season finale victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Payton was in no mood to discuss his future on Sunday and was especially short with some poor fool who tried to ask about it and then follow up.
Speculation regarding Payton's future had been running rampant in recent days. Teams reportedly interested in acquiring Payton were the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, and the Indianapolis Colts (before re-signing Chuck Pagano). When people saw Jerry Jones in New Orleans last night, even more speculation began that suggested the Dallas Cowboys owner was in town to woo Payton, but Jones denied that was the reason for his visit to the Crescent City.
Payton has two years remaining on his Saints contract, so any early exit from Metairie would first have to be approved by the Saints organization. It was rumored that the Saints would accept a 2nd round draft pick from another team as compensation, but that incredibly cheap price was never verified.
We'll have more information and reactions to today's announcement later today and in the following days.