The annual “Sean Payton is leaving the Saints” rumors have hit fever pitch, with multiple reports linking him to the Rams. After days of silence, Payton has finally pushed back.
Appearing Monday night on WWL in New Orleans, Payton said he intends to return in 2017.
“My plan is definitely to be back here,” Payton said, via Mike Triplette of ESPN.com. “Shoot I’ve got four more years on my contract here. And I plan on honoring that.”
Payton has resisted responding to the various rumors, many of which are planted by sources with an agenda to ambitious and/or desperate national reporters unwilling or unable to say, “Sorry, boss, I don’t have anything new today.”
Some will parse his words to suggest that Payton’s “plan” can change. Others will suggest that perhaps this is part of a dance between Payton and the Saints, with the coach trying to get the team to reduce its compensation expectations or to eventually sever ties, allowing him to go to a new team without the new team giving up anything to get him.
Perhaps the simple truth is that Payton was trying to avoid being presumptuous, given the reality that the Saints ultimately decide whether or not he actually continues in the job.