Sean Payton

Sean Payton admits letting Malcolm Jenkins go was a huge mistake

Sean Payton admits letting Malcolm Jenkins go was a huge mistake

The NFL is full of oversized egos, so it’s rare to hear anyone in a position of power be this open and transparent about a mistake they’ve made. 

Sean Payton isn’t shy about this one. 

The Saints made a mistake when they let Malcolm Jenkins walk after the 2013 season. Since then, Jenkins has become a two-time Pro Bowler and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title. 

Here’s what Payton said about Jenkins on a conference call with Philly reporters this week: 

I said this and I just said it recently, probably one of the bigger mistakes we’ve made. You gotta be able to look at them and say, ‘how did that happen?’ But letting him out of the building certainly wasn’t a smart decision.

In the 48-7 drubbing at the hands of the Saints in November, Jenkins was seen giving Payton a one-fingered salute after Alvin Kamara beat him for a touchdown on a wheel route on fourth down in a blowout. 

But Payton, when asked, said that didn’t bother him at all and the two talked after the game.

“He’s one of my guys and I mean that,” Payton said. 

Jenkins, 31, has proven his worth to the Eagles this season as he remains the only healthy member of the starting secondary. He has played a major role in keeping the unit together and getting them playing much better. It’s hard to quantify his importance to the Eagles’ defense. 

He was pretty important to the Saints once too, which makes it all the more curious they didn’t re-sign him. 

“He was probably one of the most important parts to our Super Bowl run and it was his rookie season,” Payton said. “I told him after the game (in November) I love him and I know that the feeling’s mutual. I just have a ton of respect for him as a player and also as a person. He’s a fantastic player and just as good of a person.”

The Eagles should be thankful the Saints made that mistake five years ago. They’re lucky to have Jenkins. 

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Leading up to Eagles-Saints playoff matchup, Sean Payton provides Flyers trivia

Leading up to Eagles-Saints playoff matchup, Sean Payton provides Flyers trivia

Sean Payton is the enemy this week.

The head coach of the Saints is in the way of the Eagles' path for back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

But give the guy some props for his Philly and Flyers knowledge.

Payton spent part of his childhood living in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, about a 20-minute drive outside of Philadelphia. He was 10 and 11 years old when the Flyers won consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

On a conference call Wednesday with Eagles reporters, Payton relived some of those glory days as a kid when asked if he kept in touch with the area:

I haven't talked to anyone relative to this season but, man, I've got a real good memory. I can remember the back-to-back Stanley Cups. I remember being off school on Monday after the second one. Phillies world championship, I could give you the lineup when the Russians walked off the ice [at the Spectrum]. I've had my fair share of cheesesteaks and hoagies and really was four blocks away from Marple Newtown High School. Played my first Pop Warner football there for the Marple Newtown Junior Bengals. There's a lot of close ties. My family is originally from Scranton and so I've got a lot of relatives back that way and close friends.

As reporters said thank you and were ready to hang up, Payton decided a little Flyers trivia was in order before moving on to prepare for Sunday's divisional round playoff game against the Eagles.

Payton: "Do you guys remember the LCB line? How many remember the LCB line? I'll bet not everyone."

Reporter: "(Reggie) Leach, (Bobby) Clarke and (Bill) Barber, right?"

Payton: "Yup. Who was the left-hander wing? He was in the second line? Rick MacLeish. Come on. You guys are slow."

Man, talk about a tough quizzer. His Saints are also tough as New Orleans is the top seed in the NFC and beat the Eagles, 48-7, in the regular season.

The Eagles have been a different team since that Nov. 18 matchup. Now they hope to add a sour memory to Payton's Philly connections — Broad Street Bullies style.

h/t to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro.

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Malcolm Jenkins explains why he flipped off Sean Payton

Malcolm Jenkins explains why he flipped off Sean Payton

The New Orleans Saints had their way with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday to the tune of a 48-7 victory (see Roob's observations).

The frustration clearly boiled over for the Eagles players, including safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was caught on camera giving the finger in the direction of his former head coach Sean Payton.

Jenkins was beaten badly on a 4th-and-7 play when New Orleans was up big in the second half. Jenkins was caught one-on-one with Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who beat him for a 37-yard touchdown.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark spoke to Jenkins exclusively following the incident and asked him about it. You can watch that video above.

"I'm a competitor. I love Sean to death. I know what type of guy and coach he is. That was more so personal between me and him," Jenkins told Clark.

"We talked after the game. It's all good. I know Sean. They're going to go for it. I was more so upset that it was on me," Jenkins said. "I got a lot of respect for what they're doing, especially Sean."

Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz both also spoke to the media following the game, saying they were excited to go back to work following Sunday's loss. That makes two of us.

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