METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton said on Wednesday he's remaining with New Orleans, ending speculation that he could be on the move after consecutive 7-9 seasons.
Payton has been with the Saints for a decade and coming off his first consecutive losing seasons.
"I don't envision myself ever coaching for any other clubs," Payton said.
"I know it appeared there was a looming decision, but I think this is really me saying again ... here I am and nothing's changing and I plan on finishing my career here ... I'll be here as long as they'll have me."
Payton began his first and only NFL head coaching job with the Saints in 2006, the season after the team had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Since then, he has gone 87-57 in the regular season with five playoff appearances and one Super Bowl title in the 2009 season.
His playoff record is 6-4. Payton's record excludes the 2012 season, when he was suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.
Payton spoke on Wednesday as Saints owner Tom Benson sat off to the right of the podium, with general manager Mickey Loomis and Saints president Dennis Lauscha standing nearby.
The coach said he understood the speculation about him leaving New Orleans, given that he has been with the Saints for a decade and that coaching vacancies were opening on other clubs as the season wound down.
But Payton stressed, "I knew in my heart of hearts that was not going to be something that was going to come to fruition.
"There will be a time when they don't want you back, and that's OK. One by one, that train stops for all of us,"
Payton added, then added a line he learned from his mentor, Bill Parcells. "We're better for having ridden, then never having been on at all."
Payton said his contract, which runs for two more seasons and pays him about $8 million annually, remains unchanged for now.
"I'm sure at the right time, all those things will take care of themselves," Payton said.
With Drew Brees as his quarterback, the offense Payton designed has ranked first in the NFL in five of the nine seasons he has coached, never ranking lower than sixth.
However, the Saints have often ranked near the bottom of the NFL defensively during Payton's tenure.
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Posted on Wed, January 6, 2016
by BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer