Rumors of Sean Payton retiring from the NFL began circulating on social media on Monday. The 58-year-old is coming off a trying season with a 9-8 record. He failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Payton has yet to address these rumors himself. But New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson spoke to the media Monday and addressed the head coach's status.
Her response didn't shed light on the situation, as she's awaiting Payton's answer as well.
"You know Sean," Benson said, "we know him, you know, who knows? We'll find out soon enough I guess. I don't think any of us know, but he'll let us know soon enough."
Benson's unfamiliarity with Payton's future is a sign the former Super Bowl winning coach is seriously contemplating walking away. Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer initially brought up the idea a couple of weeks ago that there would be some unexpected head coaching vacancies in this hiring cycle.
Glazer couldn't say for sure what Payton would do, but said that the head coach changes his mind every couple of seconds.
“Sean changes his mind like every two seconds," Glazer said. "We talk about it a lot, it’s why I haven’t reported anything because he changes his mind like every two minutes. But that’s also why I said two weeks ago on FOX NFL Sunday during the coaching carousel was that there could be a coach or two step away just because these last two years of COVID, it’s taken its toll on people.”
The only additional news about Sean Payton came Tuesday in a tweet from Saints beat reporter Jeff Duncan. Duncan said that Payton met with general manager Mickey Loomis on Monday for a couple of hours to talk, but didn't have any further information.
Sean Payton is synonymous with the New Orleans Saints
Since Payton joined the Saints in 2006, the Saints have been one of the NFL's most consistent franchises. With Drew Brees at his side at quarterback, the two won a Super Bowl and appeared in the postseason nine times.
After Hurricane Katrina, Payton was a leader for New Orleans and brought hope and inspiration when the city needed it most.
Should Sean Payton retire, he may return after a year off to try and coach elsewhere. He has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys for almost a decade now.
Given how difficult the past two seasons were with COVID-19 protocols and coaching without Brees in 2021, it's understandable if Payton needed a break. That said, it'd be a tough pill for Saints fans to swallow after already having to learn to adjust to life without Brees.