Sean Payton opens up about the loss of Tom Benson and the future of the Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- Saints head coach Sean Payton didn't just lose a boss when Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson died. He lost a mentor.

This will be the first season in his time with the Saints that Payton will be without Benson.

"He enjoyed more than anything coming out to practice or coming to see the players after a big win in the locker room," Payton recalled. "He really enjoyed being around our players and, from a coaching standpoint, that made me really happy."

Asked what the best piece of advice he had ever received from the late Benson, Payton struggled to find just one tidbit.

"It was the daily advice, it wasn't specific piece of advice, it was three or four minutes in his office every week. He was a visionary," Payton said.

Coach Payton says he's confident in Gayle Benson's ability to continue to lead the organization.

"She's got all of the qualities and traits to look for. She's steady, she's smart, she's definitely a people person and it will be a seamless transition, but in his memory," Payton said.

The Saints will reportedly leave an empty seat in the war room this weekend at the NFL Draft, in honor of the late owner.