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Sean Payton says he wants to remain with Saints

METAIRIE, La. -- Sean Payton reiterated his commitment to the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, saying, "I'll be here as long as they'll have me."

"I know it appeared there was a looming decision," he said at his news conference. "But I think this is really me saying again, 'Here I am, and nothing's changing.'"

Payton said he understands the interest and skepticism that has surrounded his future over the past few days. But he said, "This is where I plan on coaching. And I don't envision myself ever coaching for any other club."

Among active coaches, only Bill Belichick of the Patriots (16 seasons), Marvin Lewis of the Bengals (13) and Mike McCarthy of the Packers (10) have been with their teams longer than Payton, who has been in New Orleans for nine seasons, not including his 2012 suspension.

ESPN reported Tuesday that, according to sources, theIndianapolis Coltsexpressed interest in Payton. He said Wednesday that no teams reached out to him; they are barred from doing so unless they have the Saints'permission.

Payton, who has two years remaining on his contract, said he has not agreed to a contract extension and that the matter would take care of itself in the future. He added that in some ways he feels the same level of excitement and nervousness as when he first arrived in New Orleans 10 years ago.

Payton said there will be no change in the management structure with general manager Mickey Loomis, and he doesn't want one. Owners Tom and Gayle Benson, Loomis and team president Dennis Lauscha also attended Payton's news conference. Payton was the only one who spoke at the news conference.

Asked if he spent the past few days considering opportunities with other teams, Payton said, "No. And listen, I know Mickey's too smart, and I know no one's giving up the compensation that he was, I'm sure, looking and researching. And that can only happen if I sign off on it. And I think the cart just gets ahead of the horse a little bit. And yet I understand how that can happen."

Payton said he felt that any time a media report about his future circulated, there was an assumption it was coming from "someone in my camp."

"My camp is really small. It's just me and one other person," he said, a reference to his agent, Don Yee, whom he described as the short, quiet guy in the back of the room who doesn't say much.

Payton also referenced a recent story written about him that suggested he could leave the Saints "early and be a hero, stay late and become a villain."

"If I have to someday become that villain, I plan on staying until everyone says, 'We're burning your wagon out of town,'" he said. "And I'm comfortable with that. But I think that honestly, more importantly, there's more moments, there's more wins, there's more playoffs. I promise you there will be."

Payton also had a big smile when asked whether veteranDrew Breeswill remain his quarterback.

"I think that's a good assumption," said Payton, who said he texted Brees right before Wednesday's news conference.

Payton said he told Brees on Monday that he doesn't want to coach anywhere else or anyone else.

"My hair's gotten a little grayer, and he's lost some of his, but that's about it," Payton said.

Brees, for his part, told WWL Radio, "Obviously, I'm very excited that he's back. And honestly, I had a good feeling about it."

"I just know the vision that's been laid out, from the entire time that we've been here, but especially from last year to this year," Brees said of the Saints' efforts to improve the culture in the locker room by overhauling much of the roster. "Last year's 7-9 team was completely different than this year's 7-9 team. I think we all finished last season kind of depressed. Extremely disappointed with the way that season ended, but also feeling like this team wasn't where it needed to be: the camaraderie, the character, the leadership. And a lot of changes were made last offseason.

"While we were still maybe a bit young this year and maybe made some mistakes and lost some games we shouldn't have, I think we all ended the season very excited about our future."

Payton began his first and only NFL head-coaching job with the Saints in 2006, the season after the team had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, he has gone 87-57 in the regular season with five playoff appearances and one Super Bowl title in the 2009 season. His playoff record is 6-4.

His overall record excludes the 2012 season, when he was suspended in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

With Brees as his quarterback, the offense Payton designed has ranked first in the NFL in five of the nine seasons he has coached, never ranking lower than sixth. However, the Saints have often ranked near the bottom of the NFL defensively during Payton's tenure.

Of Payton staying, Saints safetyJairus Byrd told ESPN's Josina Anderson, "I think he is familiar with what is going on. That always makes it easier. He's had success here. He has done it on a high level. I think Coach staying will impact the team moving forward. It'll definitely help us build on what we have going on, and that bodes well for us."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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