New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson offered a candid answer on whether or not head coach Sean Payton will return to coach: “We don’t know… who knows?”
The Saints may not have made the playoffs, but in 2021, they were arguably the most impressive NFL team considering all of their setbacks.
Losing franchise cornerstone Drew Brees was challenging enough, but losing Michael Thomas, then losing Jameis Winston in November, then losing Alvin Kamara for a month made it all the more impressive that they finished the season 9-8.
A large part of the Saints holding it together in such a difficult year is head coach Sean Payton, who has consistently found a way to rank among the top NFL teams for more than a decade. As much as Payton has become a New Orleans foundation, Saints owner Gayle Benson seems uncertain about whether or not Payton will rejoin the Saints next season.
“We don’t know… who knows?” Benson laughed. “We’ll find out soon enough, I guess. I don’t think any of us know, but he’ll let us know soon enough.”
Saints owner Gayle Benson comments on Sean Payton’s uncertain future in New Orleans
The news surrounding Payton’s future in New Orleans is conflicting, as he was reported at the team facility today amid retirement rumors.
According to Ian Rapoport, Payton has essentially “gone dark” since the Saints’ season ended and hasn’t committed to 2022 as of yet. Payton has been on vacation, and his presence at the team facility this afternoon could simply mean that he wanted to recharge after a grueling season.
Payton is signed on to coach for another three years, and if he does walk away early, he’ll be leaving $45 million on the table.
As far as NFL coaches go, the 58-year-old is a decade younger than his eldest counterparts, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Payton will decide to coach for ten or more years.
He could have just been a guy who wanted to get away on vacation, a guy who is seriously considering retirement, or a guy just trying to promote his upcoming movie.