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Sean Payton refutes report he fears power struggle with Broncos' ownership

Sean Gardner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sean Payton denied reports suggesting he's concerned about taking the Denver Broncos' vacant head coaching job due to fears of conflict with the ownership group.

A source told Mark Maske of The Washington Post earlier Thursday that Payton likes the idea of coaching quarterback Russell Wilson and having Denver's solid defense but fears a potential power struggle with a member of the Broncos' ownership group.

The Walton-Penner family acquired the Broncos for a record $4.65 billion from the Pat Bowlen Trust last June. New owner Greg Penner said in December the team's new head coach will report to him, not general manager George Paton.

Payton is the most coveted head coaching candidate on the market. The 59-year-old, who's established himself as one of football's premier offensive coaches, stepped down as the New Orleans Saints' head coach following the 2021 campaign. He posted a 152-89 regular-season record with New Orleans between 2006-21, helping the club win Super Bowl XLIV.

Any team that hires Payton would need to compensate the Saints, who have him under contract through 2024.

Payton has also interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers, who hired Frank Reich as head coach Thursday.

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