Sports

Sean Payton says he would be interested in returning as NFL coach in 2023 for ‘right situation’

Sean Payton is working for Fox Sports this season after stepping down from his coaching job with the New Orleans Saints in January, but he says he’s interested in returning as NFL head coach in 2023 for the “right situation.”

“If the right situation comes up, I would definitely be interested,” Payton said on the NewOrleans.Football podcast, which was released Wednesday. “And if you will, there is no such thing as utopia when it comes to teams, but if I felt it was the right situation, I would have an interest in it. All in all, it could come in a year, it could come in two years.”

When asked what he would look for in a coaching opportunity, Payton said having the right ownership and front office is important.

“The most important element is functional ownership [and] Front office… because there’s a handful of teams that aren’t, and those teams can win on Sunday regardless of what takes place, but they’re struggling to win long-term,” he said. “The opportunity to win consistently and the willingness to build the right culture and all those things.”

Payton has two seasons left on his Saints contract after the 2022 season, meaning his new team would have to indemnify the Saints if he accepted an NFL coaching job in 2023.

The Miami Dolphins were fined by the NFL in August for having “unauthorized communications” with Agent Don Yee in January about Payton becoming the team’s head coach. The NFL noted that the Dolphins “did not seek approval” from the Saints to begin the talks, which took place before he resigned from his job with New Orleans. The Dolphins eventually hired Mike McDaniel as their head coach.

Payton, 58, left his job with the Saints in January after 16 seasons with the franchise. At his press conference in January to discuss his decision to leave the Saints, he didn’t rule out a future return to coaching but said his focus is on finding a television job as an NFL analyst.

He eventually found that job at Fox Sports and said on the podcast that he “really enjoys” his role at the network. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss coaching, and he said the Saints’ Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the first time this season he wished he was back on the sidelines.

“Last weekend’s game against Tampa was the first time I had any version of FOMO [fear of missing out]. I was jealous of everyone that was there, including random Bruce Arians on the sidelines,” he said.

Arians, who stepped down as Buccaneers head coach prior to the season to become senior assistant to general manager Jason Licht, stood on the sidelines for Sunday’s game and was cautioned by the NFL for his behavior.

Payton said working in television allows him to recharge his batteries, much like he did in 2012 when he was banned from the NFL for a season due to the league’s bounty investigation.

“Hopefully I’m pretty sure this does the same thing,” Payton said.

Payton’s record with the Saints was 152-89 (.631 win percentage), not counting his 2012 suspension. He went 9-8 in the postseason and led the Saints to a Stallions championship in Super Bowl XLIV with a 31-17 win over Indianapolis.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34643869/sean-payton-says-interested-returning-nfl-coach-2023-right-situation Sean Payton says he would be interested in returning as NFL coach in 2023 for ‘right situation’

Emma Bowman

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