The 49ers’ search continues.
Saints coach Sean Payton, whom many had linked to the 49ers’ head-coach opening, isn’t leaving New Orleans. He held his end-of-year news conference Wednesday and made the announcement.
“I understand the skepticism,” he said. “But this is where I plan on coaching. And I don’t envision myself coaching for any other club.”
The 49ers are reportedly seeking a “big fish” after firing Jim Tomsula on Sunday, and Payton was the biggest name being discussed in this round of coaching hires.
Payton, who was born in San Mateo, seemed to fit all criteria the 49ers are seeking: An experienced head coach whose expertise is on offense and who can identify and groom quarterbacks.
Any team interested in Payton, 52, likely would have had to give up draft picks to obtain him.
Payton, who is signed for two more seasons in New Orleans, said compensation with other teams wasn’t discussed because they were prohibited from negotiating with him without permission from Saints. But he suggested that a trade was at least contemplated. He said “probably nobody was willing to give up the compensation (Saints general manager Micky Loomis) might have been researching.”
The first known interview for the 49ers is expected to occur Thursday in New York, where team CEO Jed York, a member of the NFL’s stadium committee, is attending owners’ meetings. The 49ers are scheduled to meet with Bills running backs coach/assistant head coach Anthony Lynn at that time.
The team has an interview scheduled Sunday with Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, whose team hosts the Steelers on Saturday. The Browns and Dolphins also will meet with Jackson, 50, who spent 2011 as head coach of the Raiders.
Longtime head coach Mike Shanahan also reportedly will discuss the job. Shanahan, 63, met with the 49ers last year and already has interviewed with the Dolphins this year.