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Cardinals, Texans permitted to interview Sean Payton

Jan 25, 2022; Metairie, LA, USA;  New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton speaks during a press conference at Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans have requested — and received — permission to interview former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, the NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The Cardinals and Texans join the Denver Broncos as teams looking to talk with Payton about their respective head-coaching positions.

ESPN said that by an NFL ruling, any team hoping to interview Payton in person cannot do so before Jan. 17. Payton confirmed as much on “Good Morning Football” this past Sunday.

“Denver’s the first team; I was able to have a conversation with their owner,” Payton said Sunday. “That’s kind of the protocol. It would go team to Saints and then the interview process can’t officially begin until (Jan. 17) so that’s really where it’s at.”

Payton’s contract with the Saints expires at the conclusion of the 2024 season. Therefore, the three teams in question would have to agree to some sort of compensation in order to secure the services of Payton.

The Cardinals parted ways with Kliff Kingsbury on Monday after four seasons with the team, while the Texans fired Lovie Smith on the same day after one campaign in Houston.

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.

Payton, 59, stepped aside as head coach of the Saints last January after 15 seasons.

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