Late last week, Mark Maske of the Washington Post dropped a single-sourced bombshell regarding the Broncos’ recruitment of Sean Payton.
“[T]here was an issue with Payton’s interview with the Broncos. Payton likes the idea of coaching Russell Wilson and having that defense but fears a potential power struggle with a member of the ownership group, source says,” Maske tweeted.
Payton himself took to Twitter to refute the contention: “Zero truth to this. We had a great visit and [Broncos] ownership was fantastic!!”
If there was any truth to it, it didn’t stop the Broncos from hiring Payton.
The far more intriguing question continues to be who is the source who said that to Maske? From Payton’s perspective, it made no sense to leak any concerns regarding the Broncos as a potential destination. Even if he had such concerns, viable interest from Denver could lead to even more viable offers from other teams. There was no reason whatsoever to burn that bridge.
And it would be strange to think that the information came from someone with the Broncos — unless there’s someone within the possible too-many-cooks ownership group that hoped to blow up the pursuit of Payton.
It’s also possible that someone at the league office who harbors resentment toward Payton for the bounty scandal wanted to throw a wrench into his return. *(That’s just speculation and spitballing.)
Regardless, it didn’t keep a deal from getting done. And there likely will be interesting stories to tell about how the Broncos quickly saddled up the horse and persuaded Payton to climb aboard, especially at a time when it felt like they were swinging and missing.