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Payton steps down after 15 seasons with Saints

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sean Payton stepped down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday but didn't rule out an eventual return to the sidelines.

"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," he said. "I don't think it's this year - I think maybe in the future, but that's not where my heart is right now."

Payton coached the Saints for 15 seasons and established himself as one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL. His offense ranked in the top 10 in scoring 12 times. He posted a 152-89 record in the regular season and went 9-8 in the playoffs with a Super Bowl title in 2009. He was Coach of the Year in 2006.

The 58-year-old sat out the 2012 season while suspended for his involvement in the Saints' bounty scandal.

The veteran coach denied reports that media outlets coveted him, though he acknowledged he'd be open to a role in broadcasting.

"I think I'd like to do that," he said. "I think I'd be pretty good at it."

Payton is under contract through 2024, so any team that wants to hire him before then would have to trade for his rights.

His exit leaves the Saints with another major question mark going forward. New Orleans has yet to find a long-term replacement for retired quarterback Drew Brees and is projected to enter the offseason approximately $74 million over the salary cap, according to Over The Cap.

Injuries devastated New Orleans' 2021 season, forcing the team to start four different quarterbacks. The Saints finished the year 9-8, their fifth straight winning campaign.

With Payton's departure from New Orleans, nine NFL teams need a new head coach.

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