Almost immediately after Sean Payton confirmed the surprising news in January that he was stepping down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints and taking a break from coaching he was linked with multiple television networks in reports and rumors.
“I don’t think I’m finished coaching. But I was excited to get two or three calls from people in the TV industry,” Payton remarked at that time.
Unsurprisingly, it seems Payton received more than just phone calls.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported on Monday that Payton has accepted a job with Fox Sports to work as an in-studio analyst for the 2022 NFL season. Payton is also expected to appear on editions of “Fox NFL Sunday” when Jimmy Johnson is off.
Even before the end of January, some suggested the Dallas Cowboys could pursue Payton, and the one-time Super Bowl champion head coach found his name in headlines last week when it was reported that the Carolina Panthers were “eyeing” him as a possible future replacement for current coach Matt Rhule.
Rhule later told reporters that owner David Tepper assured him there was “nothing to” that story.
“I know Dave Tepper well enough to believe he wouldn’t be talking to another coach right now,” Rhule explained. “He came to my house two-and-a-half years ago and told me this is a five-year rebuild. That’s what he said to me. He convinced me then to come be a part of it and build it with him. We’re not where we want to be. I don’t think it’s gonna take five years, I don’t want it to take five years, but those are the words he said to me.”
Payton will reportedly be watching the Panthers and all other clubs as a Fox employee through at least this coming January. What happens after that regarding his future is anybody’s guess at this stage of the process.