As of this week, just about everyone is trying to figure out what lies in the future for New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. With reports indicating that the acclaimed NFL leader could walk away from his current post for a number of reasons, many are trying to guess at what Payton's true intentions are for 2022.
However, no one except the 58-year-old head coach seems to know that. Not even Saints owner Gayle Benson.
In a recent interview, Benson was asked about the speculation swirling around her organization's head coach. She answered very honestly, claiming that she doesn't know what Payton is planning either.
"We don't know. Who knows?" Benson said of the head coach's future while laughing,
— Sean FazendeFOX8 (@SeanFazendeFOX8) January 24, 2022
">per Sean Fazende of FOX8 New Orleans. "We'll find out soon enough I guess. I don't think any of us know, but he'll let us know soon enough."
Benson's comments won't exactly inspire confidence about Payton's return to New Orleans. However, Saints fans did receive a crumb of information about the team's head coach on Monday that seemed like a reason to celebrate.
According to reporter Nick Underhill, Payton was back at the team facility this afternoon. Although it's not a guarantee that he plans to be with the Saints in 2022, he's at least returned from his vacation, seemingly ready to work.
There's still plenty to wonder about when it comes to Payton's plan for the next year. A number of options have been floated about what he might do if he walked away from the Saints, which includes potentially making his way to television. Just this week, a report suggested that FOX wants the 58-year-old to replace Troy Aikman if the longtime game analyst leaves for Amazon.
The Saints posted a 9-8 record in an injury-ridden 2021 season and still nearly made the playoffs thanks to Payton's efforts. If he does return to New Orleans next year, the organization will likely be battling for a spot in the postseason once again.
But, if Payton decides to take a step back, the outlook for the Saints' 2022 campaign will be very different.