Dan Campbell and Sean Payton have a close and lengthy friendship, so it’s not surprising the Broncos head coach took an opportunity to praise his former assistant.
"I got both facets of it, as a player and a coach,” Campbell said. “So really everything that I am, or what I’m about, or how I think, really does come from him in a sense.”"
Campbell was of course assistant head coach and tight ends coach under Payton in New Orleans from 2016-2020 before being hired as the Lions’ head coach. His final season as a player (2009), though he missed it injured, also came with the Saints when Payton was the head coach there. Going deeper into their history, Payton was on the coaching staff as an assistant in New York (Giants) and Dallas for seven of Campbell’s 10 other seasons as a player.
Sean Payton does not hesitate to heap praise on Dan Campbell
At the league meetings in Phoenix Monday morning, Payton, now of course the Denver Broncos head coach, talked about Campbell and took an opportunity to praise the Lions head coach (h/t to the Lions’ website).
"When his career was finished spent a number of years trying to hire him,” It’s kind of difficult you know to get a coach who’s under contract and I was finally able to do that.He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s passionate. I think we are in the passion business and certainly Dan is. He’s a tremendous teacher. And he is someone that communicates extremely well with his players."
Payton is obviously happy about the trajectory the Lions are on under Campbell.
"I felt like we watched some of the toughest games for Detroit there for a stretch and it was great to see that turn,” Payton said. “We’ve seen a 60-some-yard field goal bounce off the crossbar. I mean, you lose track of the many ways. But he epitomizes grit and toughness.”"
Campbell openly credits Payton for who he is as a coach. The respect clearly goes both ways, as Payton took another opportunity to heap praise on his former assistant.