New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has one victory under his belt before the NFL season officially kicks off Thursday night.
The Saints have given Payton a contract extension that 2015, the team said Monday.
The Saints organization says Payton has agreed to the deal. Speculation is now focused on whether the Saints will reach a new deal with quarterback Drew Brees, currently in talks with the organization.
Our goal is to continue to build a TRADITION of winning here in New Orleans and Sean represents that tradition, team owner Tom Benson wrote on the team's website, upon the news of Payton's contract extension.
Payton's previous deal had him locked down through the 2012 season, but now he's got three more seasons added before the team kicks off the 2011 NFL season.
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Payton became head coach of the Saints in 2006. He led the team to the NFC South title that year, and three years later he led the Saints to the organization's first conference championship and Super Bowl win, after the team beat the Indianapolis Colts.
Payton's record at New Orleans is 53-33, including postseason games. Payton, 47, is a former quarterback at Naperville Central high school and Eastern Illinois.
I am very pleased to announce this contract extension today for Sean that rull run through the 2015 season. Our goal is to continue to build a tradition of winning here in New Orleans and Sean represents that tradition, Benson said.
The Saints kick off the start of the NFL season on Thursday, playing at the Green Bay Packers in a nationally-television game (NBC). Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. EDT.
Before Payton joined the Saints, he was assistant head coach at the Dallas Cowboys. The New Orleans team had only made one post-season since they entered the league in 1967 as an expansion franchise. Under Payton, the franchise has reached the playoffs three times.
Jim Mora remains the franchise's winningest coach, but if Payton finishes out his contract, that is likely to change.
The move is a signal that the Saints will likely strike a new deal with quarterback Drew Brees, who is in the final year of his six-year deal with the Saints. Brees, who is close to Payton, has been in talks with the Saints for a new contract.