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Payton: Broncos job 'the opportunity I was looking for'

Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is excited about the chance to lead the Denver Broncos.

"This was the opportunity I was looking for," the new Broncos head coach said Wednesday after reports of his hiring broke, according to Jeff Duncan of

Payton stepped down from his position with the Saints in January 2022. He spent the last year as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports but always indicated he wanted to be a head coach again.

The 59-year-old made it clear throughout the process that he was looking for a stable organization with solid ownership.

"It's a great fan base and great tradition," Payton said. "The ownership group is fantastic, and I love the way they competed in some of their games last year." He added: "I tried to put ownership at the top from the beginning, and I was impressed with how much they want to be successful."

Broncos ownership interviewed Payton on Jan. 17, the first day he was available. He spoke to other members of ownership via video conference over the weekend, then Broncos general manager George Paton began negotiating trade compensation with Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.

After three days of talks, the Broncos reportedly agreed to send a first-round pick in this year's draft and a second-round pick in the 2024 draft in return for the rights to Payton and the Saints' 2024 third-round draft pick.

"George and Mickey were great," Payton said. "It took a minute, but they worked through it hard and got a deal done."

Payton ranks 23rd all time in NFL wins by a head coach. He has a 152-89 record with seven NFC South division titles in his 15 seasons as the Saints' head boss.

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