SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Take Sean Payton out of the mix of potential San Francisco 49ers coaching candidates.
Payton, who just finished his ninth season as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, had been seen as the front-runner for the Niners job after Sunday night's firing of Jim Tomsula, who went 5-11 with a last-place finish in the NFC West in one season as head coach.
But with two years remaining on his contract, a trade would have had to be consummated to bring Payton to Santa Clara. Payton has ties to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke through Bill Parcells.
"This is where I plan on coaching," Payton said of the Saints in his end-of-year media conference on Wednesday, "and I don't envision myself coaching any other club.
"I'll be here as long as they'll have me. ... I'm not going anywhere."
Unless, perhaps, someone comes in with a blockbuster offer for the Saints, as ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported, the Saints would not make Payton available to other teams "at this time."
Said Payton: "There's no hidden story here. There hasn't been any backdoor conversations."
With Payton -- who is 93-61 including the playoffs and who won the Super Bowl six years ago but is just a combined 14-18 the past two seasons -- no longer an option for the Niners, their search must focus elsewhere.
Several other names have been linked to the opening, including the likes of Chip Kelly and Mike Shanahan.
"We have a clear understanding of what we want (as our next coach)," 49ers CEO Jed York said Monday. "We want a leader. We want somebody who has a clear, strategic vision."