As whispers swirl around Sean Payton’s future in New Orleans, the Saints coach openly denies them all.
Sound familiar? It should.
Payton on Monday shot down reports that he huddled with general manager Mickey Loomis after Sunday’s loss to the Falcons to discuss his future, calling that claim “completely false,” per ESPN’s Mike Triplett.
According to Payton, he and Loomis have met regularly after every road game since he took the Saints job in 2006.
Clearly frustrated, Payton then told the room: “We’re not gonna address rumors, reports. If we answered those every time, it would be silly.”
Payton later went even further Monday night on his radio show and issued his most declarative statement to date on his Saints future.
“My plan is to definitely to be back here. … I have four years left on my contract, and I plan on honoring that.”
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport addressed Payton’s latest comments on Total Access:
“There’s a little wiggle room there,” Rapoport explained. “He uses the word ‘plan’ but he also uses the word ‘definitely,’ and this is Sean Payton’s most declarative sentence that he will be back in 2017 which means at this point it seems the Rams will not be trading for him.
“There’s a couple things here. The Rams are not going to fast track a Sean Payton interview. They don’t know. They wanted to get to know him and meet him if they were going to entertain this.”
On Sunday, Rapoport cited multiple sources to reports that mutual interest exists between Payton and the coach-needy Rams. Any sort of union between the two would require Loomis and the Rams to agree on trade terms for Payton, who is still owed $40 million by the Saints after signing a multi-year extension last offseason.
“(The Rams) aren’t willing to give up a lot in compensation,” Rapoport said Monday night. “Meanwhile, the Saints wanted a lot to let Sean Payton and his $10 million contract go. It seems based on his words Sean Payton will stay in New Orleans.”
Payton’s future with the team has become an annual rite of passage in New Orleans, but the coach earlier on Monday claimed that Saints fans don’t buy into the chatter, telling scribes: “You don’t speak for the fans. You think you do. (But) fans actually get tired of (these reports).”
Not a surprising response by Payton, but it’s impossible to endure these annual rumors without wondering if the coach himself — and his active agent — aren’t operating as the engine behind such whispers.
Payton, of course, insists otherwise.