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Sean Payton believes he'll coach again in the NFL

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Sean Payton's retirement made sense.

He built a great thing alongside Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints. A year after Brees called it quits, Payton was ready for his own dismount. But on Tuesday he confirmed what the rest of the NFL world already assumed. He's planning on coming back. Probably. For the right situation, of course.

He discussed his thoughts with USA Today's Jarrett Bell.

“Ultimately, do I think I’ll get back in? Sure,” Payton said. “There’s no way to predict who that club might be. Usually, there are about six openings every year. If there’s a right fit somewhere, that ultimately will depend on several factors.”

What might those factors be? Perhaps a corner office at The Star?

All Cowboys jokes aside, Payton has been linked to interest in multiple teams, Dallas included. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, citing a source close to Payton, reported last week that Payton would be interested in the Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins if positions became available. What do those jobs have in common? Warm weather locales and competitive rosters. Because who wants to coach a loser in the cold in his 60s?

Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines in the second half against the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome. The Saints won, 18-10. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Payton's been linked to interest in teams with competitive rosters in warm locations. (Chuck Cook/Reuters)

None of the franchises named comes off as surprising. Payton, a former Cowboys assistant, has long been believed to be a target of Jerry Jones. The Dolphins reportedly offered Payton a massive deal during the offseason before landing on Mike McDaniel. And the Chargers have one of the most explosive young quarterbacks in the game in Justin Herbert — certainly an enticing proposition for the man who built an all-time great offense around a young Brees.

Those teams — like the rest of the league, of course — also have head coaches. McDaniel will make his debut as an NFL head coach in the fall. Brandon Staley was the hottest new coach in the league last year before the Chargers missed the playoffs. Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy saw a predictably disappointing playoff exit in his second season in Dallas. If we're looking for the best chance at an opening, McCarthy's it.

But predicting NFL job openings in July is foolish, so we, and Payton, will just have to see how next season plays out to find out how serious he is about a return to the sideline. And who knows? Maybe he'll fall in love with his broadcasting gig at Fox.

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