Sean Payton to step away as coach of the Saints

Payton compiled a 152-89 (.631) record since taking over the Saints in 2006, including a victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season.

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Sean Peyton has told the Saints he will step down as coach.

Sean Peyton has told the Saints he will step down as coach.

Bill Kostroun/AP

The NFL’s coaching carousel will have one more opening.

Sean Payton has informed the New Orleans Saints that he will be stepping away, according to the Associated Press and other media reports. This comes just one day after Saints owner Gayle Benson said she hadn’t heard from Payton about his plans for the future.

“We don’t know. You know, who knows?” Benson told Fox 8 NOLA on Monday. “We’ll find out soon enough, I guess. I don’t think any of us know. But he’ll let us know soon enough.”

The Saints are coming off a difficult season in which they were still in playoff contention until the final week of the season. New Orleans (9-8) lost starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a significant knee injury at the end of October and dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that forced Payton to shuffle around his players and assistant coaches.

Payton himself tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the team’s victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15.

Payton, 58, had coached the Saints since 2006 and had been the head coach in the NFL with the second-longest tenure (15 seasons), behind only Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (22 seasons).

Payton compiled a 152-89 (.631) record in that span, including a victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44 after the 2009 season.

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the infamous bounty scandal in which the NFL found that he tried to cover up a cash bounty system that allegedly targeted key players on opposing teams.

Read more at usatoday.com

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