Report: Sean Payton ‘stepping away' from Saints


Tuesday has turned out to be a busy day in the NFL. It started with reports that the Bears hired Ryan Poles to take over as their new general manager. A few hours later, an even bigger bombshell dropped.

As reports continued to trickle out, that language changed to indicate that Payton may not be fully “retiring” yet, but simply “stepping away” from coaching for a period of time.

That gave Bears fans an added jolt of hope that Payton could become the Bears head coach before too long. Payton went to high school in Naperville and played in three games for the Bears in 1987, so some have speculated he might have interest in returning to Chicago.

But it’s widely reported that Payton is still under contract with the Saints through 2024. So if he were to return to football, any team interested in Payton would actually have to trade for him. It’s essentially the same situation the Buccaneers and Rob Gronkowski found themselves in two years ago. When Gronk “unretired” to join Brady in Tampa, the Bucs had to send a fourth-round draft pick to New England for his services.

Either way, it seems too early to tell what Payton’s future holds.

“We do not know at this point whether or not Sean Payton is taking a permanent break from coaching, what his next move might be,” said Tom Pelissero on NFL Network. “He has had interest from the broadcast world, potentially to go that route. I’ve also talked to people close to Sean Payton who said that based on the relationship between Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, they wouldn’t even be surprised if this could be a temporary pause between him and the Saints.”

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