After months of speculation about his future, which included reports that he would be looking to move on from the Saints -- the team he's coached for the past 10 seasons -- Payton announced Wednesday afternoon that he is staying put.
Which is what he said since the talk of him trying to get out of the final two years of his contract to pursue the head coaching job in various NFL cities began in mid-October.
Payton said he didn't see himself coaching anywhere but New Orleans after his season-ending press conference was pushed back one hour, creating more speculation that he was pursuing a trade that would allow him to move on to another club.
Payton, who has an overall record of 93-61 -- including a 6-4 post-season mark in nine seasons with the Saints -- despite being suspended for the 2012 season, was believed to be on the radar of the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants since the season ended Sunday with a 20-17 win at Atlanta.
But that win capped a 7-9 season for the third time in four years and the Saints missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since Payton second and third years with the team in 2007 and '08 -- fueling talk that he might have a wandering eye for another job.
"I plan on finishing my coaching career here," Payton said, repeating what right tackle Zach Strief, a 10-year veteran, said last week. "I'll be back here as long as they have me."
Payton, who led the franchise to its only Super Bowl title, two NFC Championship game appearances and post-season berths in five of his nine seasons on the sideline, said he's looking forward to rekindling that success after a major overhaul of the roster following the 2014 season.
To be sure, there will be more rebuilding this off-season after the Saints finished 31st in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense and was dead last in scoring defense in allowing 29.6 points per game.
It's a task he's not afraid to take on despite the porous defense and an offense that may or may not have soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback Drew Brees back next season. Brees has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $30 million -- just the tip of the team's salary-cap issues.
"I said this before, and I understand the interest and certainly the skepticism, if you will, but this is where I plan on coaching," Payton said. "I don't envision myself ever coaching for any other club."
Payton said he's grown to love New Orleans in his 10 years as coach.
"It grows on you, and it's home," a smiling Payton said.