Sean Payton 'Not Looking at' Return to Coaching Despite 2 Teams' Informal Interest

Adam WellsJanuary 27, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Caesars Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sean Payton won't coach in 2022, but that isn't stopping interested teams from gauging whether he wants to get back on the sideline.

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, Payton said Thursday he's "not looking at" coaching even though two teams have contacted him via back channels:

Dan Patrick Show @dpshow

Sean Payton doesn't rule out the possibility of returning to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> as a Head Coach, not at all likely. Says he's focused on working in television. No teams have reach out to him directly, but interest has been expressed by two teams via back channels. <a href="https://t.co/OKkTEQL6dT">pic.twitter.com/OKkTEQL6dT</a>

Payton announced Tuesday he was stepping down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints after 15 seasons.

During his press conference, Payton didn't close the door on returning to the league. 

"I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I'll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point. I don't think it's this year; I think maybe in the future. But that's not where my heart is right now. It's not at all," he said.

Payton did bring up the possibility of doing television or radio work as an NFL analyst. 

As soon as the news of Payton's decision came out, the Dallas Cowboys were raised as a potential landing spot.

Payton has been linked to Dallas numerous times over the years. He was the team's assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach or passing game coordinator for three seasons from 2003-05 before he was hired as head coach of the Saints in 2006. 

Per ESPN's Todd Archer, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has "thought long and hard about [it] numerous times since losing Payton to New Orleans in 2006."

Mike McCarthy is still Dallas' head coach, though Jones has said he was unhappy with the team's performance in a 23-17 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

"I won't get into any conversations that I've had with anybody relative to anything to do with staff," Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Friday (via Jori Epstein of USA Today). "I've got a lot to think about regarding these coaches."

Any team formally interested in Payton will have to call the Saints first. He had three years remaining on his contract, so New Orleans could seek compensation. 

If Payton does coach again, he will certainly attract a lot of attention from teams looking to upgrade. He went 152-89 with nine playoff appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XLIV.