The Denver Broncos are going for a good rebound.
The last-place Broncos received permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview Sean Payton for their vacant head coaching job, according to ESPN.
Denver fired Nathaniel Hackett last month after just 15 games, but he had clearly been outplayed since Week 1.
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Starting with his first game, Hackett came under intense scrutiny. He burned the watch to try a 64-yard field goal instead looking for a fourth and fifth place finish in Week 1 in Seattle, which was just a preview for the rest of the season.
Payton announced after the 2021 season that he would step down as a coach. However, since he is still under contract with the Saints, teams must still request permission to interview him. Any team that potentially signs Payton would also have to give the Saints some form of compensation, likely in draft capital.
The 58-year-old has two years left on his contract with the Saints.
Payton has previously said that he would be happy to return to coaching next season.»if the right situation arose.»
Payton resigned as the Saints’ head coach in January, stating that coaching «wasn’t where my heart was right now.» But he never ruled out a return.
«I still have a vision to do things in football,» Payton said at the time. «And I’ll be honest with you, that could be going back to training at some point.»
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Payton began his head coaching career with the Saints in 2006 after serving as an assistant coach with several other teams in the league. With the addition of free agent Drew Brees, Payton led New Orleans to its first playoff appearance in six years with a 10-6 record and a division title in his inaugural season.
Four years later, he led New Orleans to its first Super Bowl victory with a win over the Indianapolis Colts.
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In his 15 seasons as head coach, Payton has a 152-89 record in the regular season and a 9-8 record in the postseason.
The Saints won seven NFC South titles under Payton.
No interview can occur before January 17, ESPN notes.