Dan Campbell Planning Offseason ‘Sit Down’ With Sean Payton

Sean Payton

Getty Sean Payton looks on during a 2022 game with New Orleans.

When the Detroit Lions tapped Dan Campbell to become their head coach, he came to the team off of a successful run with the New Orleans Saints and Sean Payton.

Payton has since stepped away from the NFL as of last week, but that doesn’t mean that Campbell isn’t going to continue using his mentor for free advice along the road. Though Payton is not going to be coaching football this year, that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to lend some useful advice to a prominent member of his coaching tree while staying relevant with the game.

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Speaking from the Senior Bowl on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, Campbell was asked his reaction to the retirement of Payton from the NFL. As the coach said via Chris Burke of The Athletic, he plans to link up with Payton in the future and chat with him, whether the coach is completely retired on a beach or still hanging around the game in some capacity.

“Dan Campbell said he’d be in touch with Sean Payton this offseason. ‘He’s already told me, ‘Hey man, I’ll see you in the spring.’ I don’t know when that’ll be. I don’t know if he’ll be in shorts or have a margarita in his hand. … But we’ll certainly sit down and talk with him,” Burke tweeted after listening to Campbell.

Obviously, Payton had a huge influence on the coach that Campbell would become, so it’s advantage Lions that their boss would get to bend the Super Bowl winner’s ear a bit this offseason. Campbell didn’t divulge many specifics about the meeting, but simply knowing it will happen is an intriguing development for the team. Payton may end up simply shooting the breeze with Campbell, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Detroit wants to take a step forward after a 3-13-1 season in 2021, and Payton would have a lot of advice for Campbell on how best to do that. It’s important to remember that Payton had frustrating 7-9 and 8-8 seasons in 2007 and 2008 after a solid debut season in 2006 just ahead of kicking the door down with a Super Bowl win in 2009-10, so he will know a thing or two about bouncing back.

Campbell is always looking to improve as a coach, so it will be notable to see how Payton looks about addressing this with him when they do get together, and what Campbell feels he can learn.

Campbell Working Hard During Senior Bowl

If there’s one thing Campbell learned from his time in New Orleans from Payton and company, it was how there are no substitutes for constant grinding, even during the offseason. While joining the media from Alabama, Campbell discussed where the team is at during the offseason and hinted that the work is ongoing for the team even though the offseason is now in full-swing. As part of that, Campbell believes he is at an advantage getting to roam the field this week and wear plenty of hats.

“We’re talking about free agents, we’re talking about other guys who are going to be involved in the draft who aren’t at the Senior Bowl, so the work doesn’t stop just because we’re here,” Campbell told the media. “So that actually helps me, frees up some time to be involved with all of it, from this to what they’re doing a little bit of, certainly going out to practice, meeting with other coaches. Certainly in practice what’s hard is not to jump in a little bit. It does help, like yesterday Brad (Holmes) and I spent most of the time on the field. He’s got more intimate knowledge on some of these guys than I do. Just to be able to watch, someone catches your eye and then he gives you kind of the intel. So it’s very beneficial for me. It helps.”

It’s obvious that Holmes and Campbell are going at the Senior Bowl with a tag-team like approach this year, which will benefit the Lions in a big way in terms of having a plan for the 2022 NFL draft.

Lions Fans Dream About Potential Payton Role With Team

Perhaps not surprisingly, immediately after reading this quote, Lions fans started fantasizing about adding Payton to the franchise in some capacity. Many folks wanted to see him in some type of administrative role with the Lions, while others were aiming a bit higher, hoping the team would somehow poach him to become the new offensive coordinator for this coming year.

Specifically, the offensive coordinator role came up with the fans in Burke’s mentions.

No matter what role the Lions could dream up for Payton, it seems the fans would be all-in on bringing him into the mix.

Payton has maintained since retiring that he has no interest in coaching in 2022, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have some type of role with the game in the future beyond that timeframe. It’s possible he gets into broadcasting for next season and takes a job in a booth somewhere. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem very likely the Lions would be rushing to add him to the mix, nor would Payton be rushing to join Detroit.

Stranger things have certainly happened, but it’s clear fans are letting their minds run wild after news of this future connection was first leaked by Campbell.

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