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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

Panthers respond to juicy Sean Payton rumor

Sean Payton on the sideline

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the second half against Jacksonville Jaguars at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton has already been linked to multiple head coaching jobs since he stepped down from that role with the New Orleans Saints less than four months ago, but one team insists they will not be in the mix.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported this week that the Carolina Panthers want to hire Payton and will attempt to do so next season. The Panthers felt the need to address the rumor.

“We would not talk to — or consider — a coach who’s under contract with another team,” the Panthers said in a statement, via Pro Football Talk.

The official response is interesting for a couple of reasons. For starters, McCarthy typically only has sports media scoops. A lot of people already would have been skeptical about his information, so it is somewhat surprising that Carolina addressed it. Also, the Panthers chose to focus on how they would not tamper with a coach who is under contract with another team rather than simply stating that they already have a head coach in Matt Rhule.

Rhule did say that Panthers owner David Tepper addressed the story with him.

All indications are that Rhule will likely be fired if the Panthers do not show serious signs of improvement next season. Payton appears to be focused on TV gigs for the time being. Even if he wants to return to coaching next season, the Panthers probably would not be his top choice.

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