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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Report: Sean Payton ‘still in play’ for 2 teams

Sean Payton looks ahead

Aug 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton seemed at one point like he would almost certainly be back coaching with an NFL team next season, but there have been numerous reports over the past week that he is leaning toward remaining at FOX. That is not a done deal yet, according to one NFL insider.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said on “The Pat McAfee Show” Friday that there are still two teams that could hire Payton as their next head coach. The Carolina Panthers are out after they signed Frank Reich, and the Houston Texans are not planning to meet with Payton for a second interview. That leaves the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals.

Payton interviewed with the Cardinals on Thursday. Rapoport says the two sides had a positive meeting.

“It sounds like that went well, and as of right now it sounds like that is a possibility and still in play. … Arizona I think was interested in Frank Reich and Dan Quinn, not getting either of them. Sean Payton, we’ll see, but that would make some sense,” Rapoport told McAfee.

There was talk that Payton wanted the Broncos job two weeks ago, but those rumors have cooled. A report on Thursday claimed Payton is concerned about a potential power struggle with one member Denver’s ownership group. Payton said in a tweet that there was “zero truth” to the report. According to Rapoport, Payton is still in the running with the Broncos.

“I think in Denver, he has not been eliminated there. I know they like DeMeco Ryans a lot, but (Payton is) still in play there as well,” Rapoport said. “Might he lean toward returning to FOX now? I think maybe, but he’s definitely still in play in two places.”

The Broncos are said to be down to two finalists for their head coach job, and neither is named Payton. There is always a chance that could change, but most signs point to the 59-year-old taking at least another year off.

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