Ex-Saints HC Sean Payton open to returning to coaching in 2023 if 'right situation presented'

·2-min read

Former Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton says he would be interested in returning to the NFL as a head coach in 2023 if the "right situation presented".

Payton, 58, led the New Orleans Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV in the 2009 season but stepped down from the franchise at the end of last season after 16 campaigns at the helm.

The 2006 AP Coach of the Year is working in the media with Fox Sports as an NFL analyst in 2022, but revealed he remains interested in coaching.

"If the right situation presented itself, I would definitely be interested," Payton told the NewOrleans.Football podcast.

"And there's no utopia, if you will, when it comes to teams, but if I felt like it was the right situation, I would have an interest in that. That all being said, that could come in a year, that could come in two years.

"The most important element is functional ownership [and] front office… because there's a handful of teams that aren't, and those teams, regardless of what takes place, they can win on Sunday but they have trouble winning long term.

"The opportunity to win consistently and the willingness to build the correct culture and all those things."

Payton's record with the Saints was 152-89 – the 13th-best of all time (minimum 100 games) – along with a 9-8 postseason record, forming a great partnership with quarterback Drew Brees with the highlight being the Saints' 31-17 Super Bowl win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season after the Saints' 'Bountygate' scandal blew up, with players said to have been rewarded by fellow team members for injuring and knocking opponents out of games. He returned to lead the team with distinction again, albeit unable to secure a return to the Super Bowl.

The 58-year-old is under contract through 2024 with the Saints, meaning any new franchise hiring him would need to pay compensation to New Orleans.