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Important quotes from Sean Payton’s retirement press conference

We’ll miss you, Coach.

New Orleans Saints v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Sean Payton

On why now:

“Every year, you go to training camp. And the one unique thing about our job is it’s entirely different than your summer. And I don’t know if it was a year earlier, maybe depending on when Drew (Brees) retired. Look, he and I never discussed when his last game would be or when I’d be finished. I just felt like this season, it was challenging for everyone. But man, I felt like it was time...It was a personal decision of feeling like you know…It’s time. But not with any regret. There’s some excitement like alright, what next? I honestly don’t know what’s next.”

On if he felt this way going into previous training camps:

“No, you feel that way going to training camp every year. it’s been the last season. Our thing about this game…You guys know this, that the losses are always challenging. The work week (starting) Monday and there’s a little bit of grit that defines players and coaches. And when you get the right group you respond. We’ve had some challenging losses. We’ve had some great wins. And I’ve always loved how we’ve responded, I love when I hear people say, man, your guys play hard. They’re tough. And those are important traits that hopefully, we’re part of developing. But it still gets back to the players and the people.”

On how he wants to be remembered:

“It’s too early for that yet. I just know this. The question is, how do I want to be remembered is someone who had passion and someone that cared a lot. Winning is important in that, it’s important in that. I thought about my mom, if she were alive today, two things I wore this shirt because she always said you have to wear this color (that) matches your eyes. She’d be in her 90s today. Her and my dad are both passed away. But, they’d talk all the time about like leaving a place maybe better than when you got there to begin with. And I think we’ve done that. And it’s not finished. We’ve got all these coaches that are sitting here with contracts and Mickey (Loomis) and the leadership in place to continue that. But yeah, we’re not writing an obituary today. It’s a step. Just another direction.”

On if he is considering returning to coaching in the future:

“[T]hat’s hard to do any of that. Right. I think in fairness to Dennis (Allen) who’s a great candidate in the building or any other coach that that possibly would be hired. I think that there’s no half in this game. You’re jumping in the deep end, and you’re swimming in. If you elect to stay out, then that’s fine. But I think that yeah, I think that that’s the approach that I think has to be taken.

On whether there is any chance he would coach in 2022:

“I felt like 10 years went by and we talked about the other team for a lot. And I get it, I understand it. But know that my plans are not to be coaching in 2022. That’s just how I feel.”

On what he’ll miss the most:

“What will I miss most I’ll miss the people. There’s a feeling when something happens in a game. And you watch one of your players do something and grow that any teacher I think would tell you is awfully rewarding. Regardless of whether he’s a starter, a backup, or a practice squad player, but to see them improve or get better and do something extraordinary men. So the relationships and then you know the teaching part of it?”

On if there was a specific moment that led to this:

“Yeah, I don’t think there was one moment. No, there wasn’t a moment where it’s like, holy cow. Look, no one had fun the week we played Miami. That was what it was and I understand it. But no, there wasn’t that moment where you came back in and said, All right. There were moments that you felt like man, I don’t want to be grumpy about something, soured on something. I’m pretty upbeat. And I would say raised by my mom in a way and I say this, both my parents (were upbeat), but my mom was very optimistic. And I think those traits, I feel like I’m that way. So there’s times where you get heated in the game. And whether it’s a player, coach, or anyone you might have just (pointed something out to), but I don’t really think about it the next day. So there were there was not that (moment where I felt) this is it. I can’t point to one.”

On if he had a chance to talk to his players:

“Well, I’ve only had a chance to talk with a few of them. It’s kind of hard. Once again, it gets back to how do you do this? You have a team meeting (if something happens right at the end of the season when the team is still together) and then read about it all? I’ll have a chance over the next couple of weeks to visit with a number of players. I saw Mike Thomas earlier. I saw Demario (Davis). I just missed Cam (Jordan). But one by one I’ll have a chance to visit with these guys. It’s difficult when everyone leaves after the season.”

On his professional plans for the future, both short-term and long:

“The short term is nothing. But I’ll have to go to the Super Bowl for some marketing commitment(s) with Zebra, and that’s great. They do a great job. And I enjoy working with their technology and meeting with some people. I’d like to try TV. And I’ve had some opportunities (as a guest analyst). I talked to Drew (Brees) a little bit about it last night. I don’t I don’t know that part of it that well. But that would be something that would interest me. And so I think the hardest part is sitting in your chair saying wait a minute, you haven’t talked with a network yet? You haven’t talked with (other opportunities)? Not a word. So hopefully that opportunity comes?”

On if the no-call in the 2018 NFC Championship Game had any affect on his decision:

“No, that was a hard way to end the season. No, I think we felt like, in all of these years, they run together. Look, we’ve won more games in the last five years than any team in the NFL except the Chiefs. And I’m proud of that. And unless your name is Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, all of us are running after the next one and the next one. And Andy (Reid) is wanting to get this next one. And Sean (McVay), is wanting to get his first one. Kyle is (Shanahan) wanting to get his first one. It’s challenging, and difficult, and chasing it. Because here’s the thing. And I think the hardest thing about the 18th season is you’re a game away (from the Super Bowl). You get more excited for the players and the coaches on your team that have never been (there). They don’t understand (how life-changing it is). And I recall saying this a number of times, I don’t know what you think it’s like to be in a Super Bowl and win it. So picture that question posed to a player or for that matter in any manner, anyone in here as part of the organization. And then I want you to times it by 100,000. That’s how good it is. And it’s like, really? 200,000. And even when you look back on those moments where, in ‘09 when the season ended, you’re not ready to stop playing. You’re like, I don’t want this to stop. And so the frustration later in your career, is you know, you’ve watched something or done something and you can’t wait to show your friend like, what do you see (in) this movie, and you really want to watch it again, almost more than they want to watch it for the first time. Or experience like when you try this dish and you’re like, I don’t want to try that. You’re like no, I will eat it with you. That is the Super Bowl. And so that is one of the things that you look forward to doing is watching others reactions like when you see pregame warmup you’re not going to feel your feet. Those are the things you (want others to feel). Mike Westhoff who’s been in the league for however many years this is going to be his first chance. That’s what you want for the players, the coaches, and everyone new in the building that that wasn’t around for that (first one) it’s the journey. To be part of it is the most amazing part.”

On his message to the fans:

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be your head coach for 16 years. I appreciate each and every one of them. So thank you for sticking with us in the good times, in the tough times. They’ve been outstanding. And so it’s really that feeling of being grateful for having a chance to have been a part of this organization and coach for them. Thank you.”

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