In a story that has sent all of the local and national sports media scrambling, the latest report from FOX Sports' Jay Glazer should help appease concerned Saints fans.
Glazer said Sean Payton told him this morning that he "absolutely" plans on staying with the Saints, citing that he and his staff and Mickey Loomis helped build the team from the ground up.
The comment from Payton, who is scheduled to appear at Gleason Gras in Champions' Square Sunday, comes after a wild morning of reports that began with ESPN 's Adam Schefter reporting that the league had voided Payton's contract extension and that he could be a free agent at season's end.
NFL.com and the NFL Network say they have confirmed that the league voided the extension of Sean Payton's contract, but that doesn't mean he'll necessarily be a free agent at years end - that decision, is up to Roger Goodell.
Click for the story on NFL.com.
The report comes after Schefter earlier reported that the league had voided the final years of Payton's deal over a clause that tied Payton to Mickey Loomis, allowing Payton to become a free agent if Loomis were let go by the club.
Sunday morning, the NFL released a statement saying Payton's contract status hasn't been finalized.
"Our office has made no determination on Sean Payton's contract status with the Saints for next year," the statement read. "All contracts between clubs and their employees must be approved by the commissioner, and we do not comment on specific terms of individual contracts. Any comment regarding the matter should come from Coach Payton and the Saints."
The Saints and Payton have not responded to WWLTV.com's requests for comment.
Fox' Jay Glazer reported during the network's morning NFL preview show that Payton told him he would remain with the Saints regardless of the latest news.
The NFL.com report says that while Payton's contract is scheduled to end at the end of the 2012 season, no determination has been made and that the rule of thumb with suspended players is that their contracts are pushed back a year because of the suspension and the same could hold true for Payton.
Ultimately, that decision is up to Goodell, said the report. Lombardi pointed out that Goodell has the unilateral right to rule on coaching contracts.
Schefter's report first hit early in the morning, saying that the NFL has voided the multiyear contract extension the Saints announced for Payton in 2011, allegedly making the suspended coach a free agent after this season.
“Within the past year, the multiyear contract extension the Saints announced for Sean Payton in September 2011 was voided by the NFL, making the suspended head coach a free agent after this season and casting questions on how long he will remain in New Orleans, according to league sources,” Schefter said.
“Payton is expected to become the NFL's most sought-after head coach after this season and there already is speculation in league circles that he could wind up returning to Dallas, where he worked as the assistant head coach from 2003 to 2005, during which time the Dallas Cowboys brought in quarterback Tony Romo, who attended the same college, Eastern Illinois, as Payton.”
According to Schefter, Payton has been doing some work with the New Orleans Hornets, who are owned by Saints owner Tom Benson.
A Hornets official, however, said he was unaware of any work Payton has been doing for the franchise.
--WWLTV.com's Bradley Handwerger contributed to this report.