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NFL World Reacts To Bombshell Sean Payton News

A closeup of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton wearing a black visor.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines before the start of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The news out of "The Big Easy" is as official as it is stunning. Sean Payton is stepping away from the New Orleans Saints.

Payton had been rumored to be mulling over his future in recent days following the conclusion of the 2021 regular season. The 58-year-old head coach was on vacation last week before returning to the office yesterday, but his status for next season remained up in the air until a short time ago.

Now, with the news that Payton is stepping down--Saints insider Nick Underhill calls it a "retirement"--the focus has shifted to what is next for the Super Bowl XLIV champion.

Many think Payton is bound for a television booth, at least for now. He's reportedly been pursued by several networks and has an offer from FOX should Troy Aikman leave for Amazon.

Interestingly, some analysts think it's a possibility that after a year away, Payton will want to return to the sideline with a different team. It seems unlikely that he would jump right from the Saints to a new organization, but every team looking for a head coach right now should at least reach out to Payton to see if he is interested.

Payton took over the Saints in 2006 and registered an overall regular season record of 152-89 and playoff record of 9-8 during his 15 seasons. He sat out the 2012 campaign as part of his one-year NFL suspension due to the "Bountygate" scandal.

Payton led New Orleans to nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship.