As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton's name continues to churn in the rumor mill, not even the team's owner knows about his status for next season.
NFL Network reported that Payton has not committed to returning to the Saints for the 2022 season. Payton has been on vacation as he considers his future, per multiple reports. According to Front Office Sports, FOX Sports is targeting Payton as a candidate to succeed current analyst and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, should Aikman leave for another opportunity.
In the meantime, Saints owner Gayle Benson hasn't heard anything directly from Payton.
"We don't know. You know, who knows?" Benson told Fox 8 NOLA on Monday. "We'll find out soon enough, I guess. I don't think any of us know. But he'll let us know soon enough."
— Sean FazendeFOX8 (@SeanFazendeFOX8) January 24, 2022
The Saints are coming off a difficult season in which they were still in playoff contention until the final week of the season. New Orleans (9-8) lost starting quarterback Jameis Winston to a significant knee injury at the end of October and dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that forced Payton to shuffle his players and assistant coaches around.
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Payton, 58, has coached the Saints since 2006 and currently holds the second-longest tenure of any head coach in the NFL (15 seasons) behind only Bill Belichick of the Patriots (22 seasons). Payton has compiled a 152-89 (.631) record in that span, including a victory against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44 after the 2009 season.
Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season for his role in the infamous bounty scandal in which the NFL found that he tried to cover up a cash bounty system that allegedly targeted key players on opposing teams.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sean Payton's future with Saints remain uncertain, Gayle Benson says