Broncos receive permission to interview Payton, sources say play Mad Dog: Broncos GM George Paton has had an awful year! (1:29) Chris "Mad Dog" Russo takes aim at Broncos GM George Paton and his culpability in Denver's struggles this year. (1:29) 5:46 PM ET ESPN The Denver Broncos requested and received permission from the New Orleans Saints to interview Sean Payton for their head coach position, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday. The NFL ruled that any in-person interview with Payton cannot be conducted until at least Jan. 17, sources said. Payton stepped down from the Saints after last season. New Orleans won its final two games that season and wasn't eliminated from postseason contention until Week 18, but the veteran coach still decided to walk away after 15 seasons with the club. Payton, the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants when they advanced to the Super Bowl in 2000, went 152-89 with the Saints in the regular season and finished with a postseason mark of 9-8. He and the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2006. Editor's Picks Sources: Broncos to be aggressive in HC hiring 6d Adam Schefter Source: Thomas to restructure deal with Saints 54m Field Yates 2 Related The Broncos fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26, after compiling a 4-11 record. On Christmas Day, Denver lost 51-14 to the Los Angeles Rams in front of a national audience. Hackett's dismissal put an abrupt end to the shortest tenure of any noninterim head coach in franchise history. The Broncos' new ownership -- the Walton-Penner Group, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, daughter Carrie Walton Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner -- quickly ran out of patience with a team that had one of the league's best defenses but an offense that simply could not score. "Following extensive conversations with [general manager] George [Paton] and our ownership group, we determined a new direction would ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos," Penner said in a statement. "This change was made now out of respect for everyone involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach." The Broncos (4-12) close the season Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Chargers (10-6).