Sean Payton shocked the sports world when it was announced that he stepped down as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints after 15 seasons. While the move was likely met with sadness and shock by many in New Orleans, Saints owner Gayle Benson took the time following Payton's announcement to share a heartfelt statement, via NFL.com.

“On behalf of our entire organization, I have the highest appreciation for what Sean Payton has meant to the New Orleans Saints since 2006,” Benson said. “Sean came to New Orleans during what was a difficult time for our organization, as well as the entire Gulf South region following Hurricane Katrina. Under his leadership, Sean helped lead this football team to new heights with easily its most successful period, showing what can be accomplished with a combination of vision, hard work, leadership of his coaching staff and players. We are grateful for everything Sean has given to this organization and this city and I give my best wishes to he and his lovely wife Skylene in the future.”

This is a very heartfelt statement made by Saints owner Gayle Benson following the announcement that Sean Payton stepped down. Benson said she has the “highest appreciation” for what Payton meant to New Orleans.

Live and breathe the NFL?

🚨 Get viral NFL graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The Saints owner spoke about how the franchise- and the surrounding area- was reeling in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina. Benson noted how Payton helped propel New Orleans forward through the tough times, commending him for his character and hard work.

The Saints owner finished up her classy statement by wishing the best for Payton and his wife. Clearly, Sean Payton left an impact on New Orleans that goes far beyond just his accomplishments as the head coach.