The New Orleans Saints are in free-fall, but Sean Payton says he isn't about to abandon the team he's coached since 2006.
One day after ESPN reported that multiple teams plan to inquire about Payton's availability after the season, the longtime coach dismissed the chatter.
"I think that happens when you're in Year 10 and you're not having success," Payton said, per the team's official website. "... I love it here, I'm close to my children, I just built a brand new place here. So you get tired of answering the questions, and yet I understand you asking."
Payton acknowledged that job-changing rumors have trailed him for ages, saying: "That comes up yearly now, not just every three or four years. I mean, that came up, shoot, my second, third, fifth, ninth -- I mean, pick a year -- and you just gotta make sure that the players, coaches, everyone understands what the focus us."
The Saints are off to a disastrous 1-4 start, but Payton argued that "our players aren't distracted" by the reports, saying: "I think the focus of our team is dead square on getting better. On the plane ride home, we have guys watching the game on the DVDs, looking at the mistakes, trying to get the corrections made."
Payton didn't shy away from Monday's questions about his future, instead listing the author of one such report from last season and making it crystal clear that he's quite aware of the gossip -- and tired of it.
"I'll say what I've said before," Payton finished. "This is where I see myself."