There was so much speculation. National media Sports reporters were predicting Sean Payton would end up in the Big Apple with the Giants or maybe in San Francisco, Miami or Philadelphia.
Guess what? Payton will remain in the Big Easy...New Orleans.
He let that be known at Wednesday's news conference at Saints headquarters in Metairie before a packed conference room full of local and national media, Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson, general manager Mickey Loomis and Saints president Dennis Lauscha.
"This is where I plan on coaching and I don't envision myself coaching for any other club, "stated Brees. "I've said this before and I can't say this enough, just having met with Mr. Benson and his wife Gayle...man, I've been blessed. But looking forward to where we're going and I don't take for granted one moment, the leadership that sits over me and has confidence in me to be part of a team."
Payton has been the Saints head coach since the 2006 season. In ten years he posted a 93-61 regular season record and 6 wins and 4 defeats in post-season play. Of course, he guided the Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2009.
Over the past two seasons his Saints haven't cracked the playoffs, finishing the 2014 and 2015 seasons with identical 7-9 records.
Payton has two years remaining on his contract and has not agreed to a contract extension. He said that will take care of itself.
"Here I am and nothing has changed and I plan on finishing my career here, "said Payton. "I think Zach Strief said it best last week. I'll be here as long as they'll have me, but I'm looking forward to where we're going."
The Saints closed out the 2015 season by winning three of the last four games and that was a good sign with so many new faces on the Saints roster. No doubt, the play of the defense must improve but having veteran quarterback Drew Brees is a major plus. Brees and Payton want to close out their careers together and today's announcement by Payton may bring make that become a reality.
If the Saints can shore up the offensive line and bring in a game breaking wide receiver the offense will be high flying again in 2016, especially if Brees can remain healthy. The last two or three years, the offensive line hasn't given Drew the time needed to avoid getting crushed by on rushing defensive linemen and linebackers.
Payton said he has fallen in love with the fan base and the city of New Orleans.
"I never take for granted our fan base and how supportive they've been, "stated Payton.
He also mentioned something someone told him when he moved to New Orleans in 2006. "There's something about this city, and you hear that initially, and look, there was a lot back then that was uniquely different because of post-Katrina. But there is something unique and different. I can't put my finger on it. I mean, I drive through a pothole every day like you guys to, and get upset. When the water is down in a certain parish, I have to come here to shower, just like everyone else might have to go somewhere else. And yet it grows on you, and it is home."
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