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Sean Payton: 'There was no way I was going to another team'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Payton's back, baby! (US Presswire)

Sean Payton is free. And on Wednesday he finally spoke with the media following his year-long suspension from the NFL.

Payton addressed the heavy drama surrounding his contract (it had to be redone; there was lots of speculation he might leave for another gig) saying emphatically he never considered a job other than his position with the Saints.

"There was no way I was going to another team," Payton said. "The issue was a minor technicality. It was a minor clause -- you guys had it right, there was a clause [in the contract] that wasn't approved."

Payton's contract, an extension that was signed in 2011, was voided by the NFL in early November, opening up the floodgates for speculation that he could take another job, with the Cowboys being the odds-on favorite to snatch him from the Saints. Payton said Wednesday he appreciated the speculation but that coaching rumors in the NFL are far from something new.

"I appreciate and understand the speculation with various teams," Payton said. "But every year a third of this league is turning over. Seven or eight [teams] and it seems to be new news and yet the next year it'll be seven or eight and the year after that and that's the business."

Payton could negotiate with the Saints during his suspension, and the team eventually locked him down on a new multi-year deal, but not before plenty of sweating from Saints fans. Payton said the reason the deal took so long was his absence from the building and the inability to work through a deal in person with Saints GM Mickey Loomis.

"What became more challenging really was being out of the building and then trying to work through the specifics to get the contract done," Payton said. "In the prior contracts that we've agreed upon ... I've always had a two-to-three-week period where Mickey and I would visit and then, at some point, it would get to the agents and attorneys, but at that point it would be easy. And this time that didn't exist."

What did exist was plenty of speculation and rumors and reports and leaks about Payton possibly bolting from the Saints. And the coach more or less put that on the game of telephone that comes with using agents to negotiate a contract.

"At times there were various reports and word coming out and there was never even any attempt to leverage with that," Payton said. "It was just that I couldn't be involved in the specifics and it had to go to an agent and back to me."

Whether it was intended as leverage or not is irrelevant. The rumors and speculation naturally create leverage. And ultimately it ended up working out all right, as Payton and the Saints reached a new deal.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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