Sean Payton Apologizes For Napalming Broncos, Jets, Others In Interview: ‘Needed A Little More Restraint’

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Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton was entertaining but he stepped in it when he made some controversial (also truthful) comments to USA Today earlier this week.

And now Payton, seeing all the poo on his shoes, is trying to clean up the situation.

“Yeah, listen, I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on, and not my coaching hat on,” Payton told reporters moments ago. “I said this to the team in a meeting yesterday, we’ve had a great offseason relative to that, you know, and I’ve been preaching that message. And here I am, the veteran stepping in it.

“It was a learning experience for me. It was a mistake obviously. I need a little more filter … I said what I said and obviously I needed a little more restraint. And I regret that.”

Broncos coach Sean Payton at practice Friday
Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton during training camp at Centura Health Training Center July 28, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Sean Payton Tells Broncos He Messed Up

Payton’s comments to the newspaper basically slimed the 2022 Broncos. He ripped former coach Nathaniel Hackett, and then criticized this year’s New York Jets.

“It doesn’t happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed,” Payton said of last year’s Denver team. “And that happened here. Part of it was their own fault, relative to spending so much (expletive) time trying to win the offseason – the PR, the pomp and circumstance, marching people around and all this stuff.

“Everything I heard about last season, we’re doing the opposite,” Payton added.

Those comments reverberated within the Broncos organization.

They took aim at a departed coach, yes. But also at general manager George Paton who ran the organization last year and remains. They took aim at the public relations department that is one of the NFL’s best and remains intact. And ultimately they sort of sideswiped ownership — the same ownership that hired him.

Denver Broncos hired Sean Payton in February
Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton is introduced by owner Greg Penner during a press conference at team headquarters in Englewood, Colorado on Monday, February 6, 2023. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Broncos Front Office Caught A Stray

“The front office and the ownership are the two reasons I came here,” Payton said Friday. “George and I are close. He was one of the big attractions, both he and ownership. My point was it was just across the board organizationally. It wasn’t just one person.

“Yeah, so, they’re good.”

Yeah, so, getting “good” did require a conversation between the parties.

Payton in the original interview also took a swipe at the New York Jets and Hackett, who is now their offensive coordinator.

He accurately blamed Hackett for part of quarterback Russell Wilson’s struggles a season ago.

“Oh, man,” Payton said. “There’s so much dirt around that. There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”

The New York Jets and coach Robert Saleh were criticized by Broncos coach Sean Payton
Head Coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets speaks to the media during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on July 20, 2023 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Payton Ripped Jets For Doing Hard Knocks

Payton in the interview also talked about how the Broncos aren’t eager to draw attention to themselves (too late) by doing insider television shows.

“We’re not doing any of that,” Payton said. “The Jets did that this year. You watch. ‘Hard Knocks,’ all of it. I can see it coming. Remember when (former Washington owner) Dan Snyder put that Dream Team together? I was at the Giants (in 2000). A young coach. I thought, ‘How are we going to compete with them? Deion’s (Sanders) there now.’ That team won eight games or whatever. So, listen… just put the work in.”

Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked about those comments on Thursday morning. And it should be noted the Jets, on Hard Knocks this preseason, didn’t want to be on Hard Knocks.

Sean Payton will talk to Jets coaches at some point.
ENGLEWOOD, CO – JULY 28: Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton during training camp at Centura Health Training Center July 28, 2023. (Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Broncos And Jets Play In October

“Well, I’m not going to acknowledge Sean on that,” Saleh said Thursday. “He’s been in the league a while, he can say whatever the hell he wants.

“But as far as what we have going on here, I can live by the saying ‘If you ain’t got no haters, you ain’t poppin’, so hate away.’ Obviously, we’re doing something right if you got to talk about us when we don’t play until Week Four, and I’m good with it.”

The Jets and Broncos play Oct. 8 in Denver. Payton on Friday acknowledged he went too far and sounded like he’ll apologize to the Jets to some degree at some point.

“I think the world or Robert, I don’t know Nathaniel but, at the right time,” Payton said. “I mean, listen, it certainly will bring more interest to the game when we play them but that seems light years from now. But I’ll handle it the right way.”

Payton might actually be able to benefit from this storm. He admitted his mistake to his players in a meeting. He’s admitting his mistake publicly, which players will also see.

That could give the Broncos’ new coach more credibility — if he needed it after his long history of winning — with his new players.

“I think I’m pretty good working with the media and I’m pretty savvy,” Payton said. “I just had one of those moments.”

Follow on Twitter (X): @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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