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Broncos get Saints’ OK to interview Sean Payton

Jan 9, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with tight end Juwan Johnson (83) prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have granted the Broncos permission to interview Sean Payton for the open head coaching job in Denver, ESPN first reported Saturday.

NFL Network also later confirmed the report.

The Broncos are seeking to replace Nathaniel Hackett, who was fired on Dec. 26 after going 4-11 in his first season on the job. The Broncos are 4-12 entering Sunday’s finale at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Payton, 59, stepped aside as head coach of the Saints in January after 15 seasons. Because his contract had not expired with the Saints, they would be due compensation from any team that advances to the contract negotiation stage with Payton.

ESPN said that by an NFL ruling, any team that wants to interview Payton in person cannot do so before Jan. 17. The Saints and Broncos do not need to agree on compensation for the coach before an interview takes place, per the report.

He had a 152-89 record with the Saints and led them to a win in Super Bowl XLIV following the 2009 season, the only championship in franchise history.

–Field Level Media