Dan Campbell worked under Sean Payton for five seasons on the Saints coaching staff, and on Wednesday he talked about a long-running relationship.
With Sean Payton’s decision to step down as New Orleans Saints head coach after 16 seasons, the first implication for the Detroit Lions was defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn becoming a candidate for the job opening. But Payton’s influence on head coach Dan Campbell shouldn’t be forgotten.
Campbell was assistant head coach and tight ends coach under Payton in New Orleans from 2016-2020. His final season as a player (2009), though he missed it injured, also came with the Saints. Going deeper, Payton was on the coaching staff (in New York, Dallas and New Orleans) for eight of Campbell’s 11 seasons as a player.
On Wednesday morning at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, as passed along by Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, Campbell talked about Payton’s decision to step away while looking forward to talking to his mentor.
Dan Campbell will take the opportunity to pick Sean Payton’s brain
“I got both facets of it, as a player and a coach,” Campbell said. “So really everything that I am, or what I’m about, or how I think, really does come from him in a sense.”
“Look, I know that he would help me,” Campbell said. “He’s told me over and over, it’s like, ‘Hey man, whenever you need anything, just hit me up.’ And certainly now he has more time to listen, that’s a good thing.
“I’ll use him,” Campbell said. “He said, ‘Hey man, I”ll see you in the spring.’ And so I don’t know when that will be. I don’t know if he’ll be in shorts or if he’ll have a margarita in his hand. But we’ll certainly see him, and we’ll sit down and talk to him and use him.”
Campbell also offered a prediction Payton will be “back in the seat” as a head coach some day. That’s not a revelation, but hearing it from someone the former Saints’ coach is close to feels meaningful. In the meantime, Campbell will use Payton as an advisor. And no, before that idea can take off, Payton will not be the Lions’ new offensive coordinator.