After 15 seasons as head coach of the Saints, Sean Payton is stepping down

Sean Payton's illustrious career with the New Orleans Saints has come to an end.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Payton is stepping down as the Saints' head coach.

Payton, 58, has a 152-89 regular season record and a 9-8 postseason record in 15 seasons with the Saints, including one Super Bowl title and the 2006 AP Coach of the Year award.

"Honestly, as I sit here today, and this is OK, I don't know what's next," Payton told reporters during a Tuesday news conference. "Look, I read the reports and I've not spoken to anyone from a media outlet relative to doing television or radio, maybe that opportunity arises but every time I read something that says like, 'He's in line for this job,' I'll call my agent, Don [Yee], and I'll say, 'Don, did you hear something? 'Cause I've not heard anything.' And that's OK. I think I'd like to do that, I think I'd be pretty good at it. So, steppin' outside like in the cold weather today and be a little uncomfortable professionally or from a career standpoint is OK. I don't like the word 'retirement,' Mr. B [late owner Tom Benson] didn't like it either, he always said 'retirement's overrated.' We get sold this image of retirement by these investment groups on TV and golf courses and, so, yeah, I still have a vision for doing things in football and, I'll be honest with ya, 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."

Payton later reiterated his next stop might be TV.

"I've had some opportunities," he said. "I talked to Drew (Brees) about it a little bit last night. I don't know that part of it that well, but that would be something that would interest me."

According to Rapoport, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is the frontrunner to succeed Payton. According to Rapoport, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will also be interviewed.

Payton, who has three years left on his contract, had not committed to returning to coach the Saints following an exceedingly difficult and challenging season, according to Rapoport.

On Monday, New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson acknowledged the anxiety in the city when she remarked, "I don't think any of us know" what Payton's future with the team is.

Now we know, and the Saints' gruelling 2021 season will be his final with the team. Payton acknowledged that there is talk that he may want to coach someplace in 2022 — he has been linked to Dallas, where he spent three years as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach before coming to New Orleans — but that isn't on his radar right now.