Saints' Owner Gayle Benson on Sean Payton's Future: 'I Don't Think Any of Us Know'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 09: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson said Monday she doesn't know if Sean Payton intends to remain the team's head coach moving forward.

"We don't know. You know, who knows?" she told reporters. "We'll find out soon enough I guess. I don't think any of us know. But he'll let us know soon enough."

Sean FazendeFOX8 @SeanFazendeFOX8

Saints owner Gayle Benson was asked about Sean Payton today <a href="https://twitter.com/FOX8NOLA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FOX8NOLA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/oliviavidaltv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@oliviavidaltv</a> <a href="https://t.co/OyoYDjsqO0">pic.twitter.com/OyoYDjsqO0</a>

On Sunday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported: "Sources say that Payton, who has three years left on his contract, has not committed to returning to coach for another season in New Orleans. He has not yet informed the organization for whom he's coached since 2006 that he will definitely return."

Per Rapoport, Payton went on vacation and went "dark on several people close to him."

As for his future, Rapoport noted that if Payton did leave the Saints, it would be a "mini-retirement to recharge for a year" and that he would likely look to come back to football with a different organization after that hiatus. 

Nick Underhill @nick_underhill

Doesn't necessarily mean anything either way, of course, but he's back around the team this week.

Losing Payton would be a huge blow for the Saints. The 58-year-old has spent 15 of the past 16 seasons as the team's head coach—he was suspended for the entirety of the 2012 campaign as a result of the NFL's Bountygate investigation—and has accumulated a 152-98 record in that time. 

He's led the Saints to the playoffs nine times and a Super Bowl title in the 2009 season. 

As for a potential replacement, Rapoport reported that defensive coordinator Dennis Allen "would be a top candidate to take over, sources say, but New Orleans would have to conduct a complete search to replace Payton."

In the interim, the Saints remain in a holding pattern as Payton decides his future.