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Sean Payton out as Denver Broncos candidate after issues during interview

Sean Payton will not be the next head coach of the Denver Broncos. It had been trending in this direction for some time with reports indicating that the Super Bowl-winning head man was likely heading back to his gig with Fox Sports.

Now comes this note from Mark Maske of The Washington Post indicating that Payton is no longer a candidate for the opening in Denver.

Maske indicates that there was an issue between the highly-respected former New Orleans Saints head coach and Denver’s brass during the interview process. In particular, Sean Payton “fears a potential power struggle with a member of the ownership group.”

It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines here. The Broncos’ sale to a group headed by Rob Walton and Greg Penner was finalized back in August. While Walton is taking a hands-off approach, the same thing can’t be said about Mr. Penner. That’s especially true when it comes to the process of bringing in a new head coach to replace the recently-fired Nathaniel Hackett.

Related: Latest updates on Sean Payton’s return to the NFL

Sean Payton’s future and issues with Denver Broncos brass

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

“The new coach will report to me, which is a more typical structure in the NFL. Obviously, the relationship between the general manager and head coach is a critical one, and George is going to be intimately involved in this process of looking for a new head coach and we’ll make sure there’s a good fit there.”

New Denver Broncos owner Greg Penner after the firing of Nathaniel Hackett

Penner is heading a group consisting of general manager George Paton and minority owner Condoleezza Rice in looking for a new head coach. You can read between the lines, right?

As for Sean Payton, it certainly looks like he’s not going to be manning an NFL sideline in 2023. The veteran coach resigned his post with the New Orleans Saints following the 2021 season to take a job with Fox Sports. He’s long been linked to potential openings. But it seems clear that the Super Bowl winner is looking for the perfect fit. Denver doesn’t seem to be that.

Circling back around to Denver for a second, the power dynamic could be troublesome. We’ve seen how hands-on owners have had a negative impact on the on-field product. The hope is that this isn’t the case with these Broncos.

As of right now, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is seen as the odds-on favorite to land this job. As a potential first-time head coach, there likely wouldn’t be a power struggle between Ryans and Denver’s brass.

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