Saints reportedly pass on Martz, hire Cowboys assistant Payton

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints will hire Dallas Cowboys assistant Sean Payton to his first NFL head coaching job, a team official familiar with the decision said Tuesday.

The Saints' official was speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the formal announcement wasn't expected until today.

Payton has been a quarterbacks coach for three seasons under Bill Parcells in Dallas. He also held the title of assistant head coach. Before that, he was a New York Giants assistant, a stint that included that team's NFC Championship in 2000.

Payton was one of five candidates interviewed by the Saints at the team's headquarters last week. The others were Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman and former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz.

Payton will succeed Jim Haslett, whose tenure lasted six years. The Saints were 3-13 in 2005, a season in which all of their "home" games were played on the road because of Hurricane Katrina. The Saints were a .500 team during Haslett's first five seasons.

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans first reported Payton's hiring.

Payton's background as a quarterbacks coach -- he also had a very brief pro playing career at that position in the CFL and as a Chicago Bears replacement player in the 1987 strike season -- could serve him well in New Orleans, which is expected to draft a quarterback with the second overall pick in the NFL draft.

Aaron Brooks, the Saints' starter for most of the past six seasons, had his worst season in 2005 and was benched for the final three games. Brooks is due about $6.5 million in salary next season.

Jets hire Mangini

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Eric Mangini has worked for Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, learning from two of the greatest coaches in the NFL.

The Jets are banking on that pedigree to lead them back into the playoffs.

Despite his youth and relative inexperience, the organization hired Mangini as its coach Tuesday. The former Patriots defensive coordinator, who turns 35 on Thursday, becomes the youngest head coach in the league.

Terms of the deal weren't known but it is believed he will get between $2 million and $2.5 million per year over five years.

"Being compared to Bill Belichick is one of the highest compliments you can be paid," Mangini said. "I am not Bill Belichick, I am not Bill Parcells. I am Eric Mangini. I'm going to approach it my way. I'm going to take the experiences and the lessons that I learned from those guys and I'm going to apply that to my team."

The baby-faced Mangini won't be confused with former coach Herman Edwards, who left for Kansas City last week. Mangini was reserved and low key at his introductory news conference, hardly exhibiting any of the fire and energy that is Edwards' trademark.

But this is a new era for the organization, which hopes Mangini can instill a different attitude after the Jets finished 4-12 last season.

-- From wire reports

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