49ers

Sean Payton stepping away from the New Orleans Saints

49ers
Sean Payton
Sean Payton has been head coach of the Saints since 2006.
USA TODAY

Sean Payton, the NFL's second-longest tenured head coach behind Bill Belichick, is parting ways with the New Orleans Saints.

Reports surfaced Sunday that Payton, who was hired by New Orleans in 2006 and won a Super Bowl in 2010, had not committed to returning to the Saints. Payton then reportedly met with Saints general manager Mickey Loomis on Monday.

Following the retirement of longtime quarterback Drew Brees, a Saints team that was shorthanded due to injury and COVID-19 and started four different quarterbacks finished the regular season at 9-8. The team missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

The 58-year-old Payton remains under contract through 2024, meaning a trade would have to be arranged in order to coach another team. Reports suggest Payton may spend a year or two doing television before returning to coaching.

Payton has a career record of 152-89, which is tied for 21st in NFL career coaching victories. Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for the Saints' bounty system on opposing players, becoming the first NFL head coach to be suspended for any reason. 

The Saints are the ninth NFL team with a vacant head coach position. Internal candidates that could be a potential replacement for Payton include defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.