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Sean Payton says he regrets his comments about Nathaniel Hackett and the New York Jets

After Sean Payton went scorched earth on Nathaniel Hackett, the Jets and previous regime in a USA Today interview, he now regrets those comments.

NFL: Denver Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton Introductory Press Conference Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, USA Today’s Jarrett Bell dropped a bombshell article where Broncos head coach Sean Payton was very candid, honest, and blunt about Nathaniel Hackett, the previous regime, and the New York Jets.

Well, today, Payton met with the media for the first time since these comments were published and he expressed regret and said it was a mistake on his part. He explained he had his FOX/media hat on instead of his coaching hat on.

In that article, Payton made comments like “It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL” and “Everything I heard about last season, we’re doing the opposite”. He threw the previous regime under the bus by saying “the parents allowed it” when talking about the dysfunction within the building and then said the New York Jets will have the same fate as the 2022 Denver Broncos.

“I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on and not my coaching hat. I said this to the team in the meeting yesterday: We had a great offseason, relative to that. 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 needed a little bit more filter. There’s a pound of flesh for these guys, and as a coach, you stick up for them. After a while, we’re past that season last year. I said what I said. I needed a little bit more restraint, and I regret that. That being said, what I told the team is—I think I’m pretty good, relative to working with the media and am pretty savvy. I just had one of those moments. [USA Today reporter] Jarrett [Bell] is a good friend and is really good at his job. [I had] two lattes in the morning. [He’s] the first one I see, and 40 minutes later, I’m regretting it. It is what it is.”

Now, a lot of what he said was likely true, but it was unprecedented for a current coach to throw another coach under the bus like that, especially with them still in the coaching ranks. Then, Payton throwing some people who are still part of this organization the way he did likely did not sit well within the building. His comments even got the attention of former Broncos offensive lineman Billy Turner who is also a good friend of Nathaniel Hackett. He called the Broncos head coach a “f*cking bum” in a post on Instagram.

“Yeah, at the right time. I think the world of Robert. I know him, but I don’t know Nathaniel [Hackett]. At the right time. Listen, it will certainly bring more intertest to the game when we play them, but that seems like years from now. I’ll handle it the right way.”

Payton said he will reach out to the New York Jets “at the right time” to make things right with them and handle it “the right way”. He did quip that these remarks did add some spice to the Broncos and Jets matchup later in the season.

As for his comments that threw some members of the organization under the bus which included General Manager George Paton, he told NFL Network’s James Palmer that Paton was one of the big attractions. He continued by saying he and Paton are close and that his point was that blame could be spread across the board not just on one person.

“The front office and the ownership are the two reasons why I came here. [General Manager] George [Paton] and I are close. He was one of the big attractions—him and ownership. My point was it was across the board organizationally. It wasn’t one person. They’re good.”

I still have no issues with what Payton said and what he said was the truth. I understand there is a way to go about these things, but at the end of the day, he told no lies and was supporting his quarterback in the process. It was repeated multiple times that Sean Payton does not say or do things without a purpose so we shall see if that is the case here or if he truly just forgot he was a head coach of an NFL team for a little bit.


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