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Sean Peyton inks five-year extension

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday that will run through the 2017 season.

The team announced the extension but did not release financial details of the deal. Payton had agreed to the deal in principle on Dec. 29.

“Sean has been a critical part of our success, getting him signed to a long-term deal is very important to our organization and we are pleased to have it finalized,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in statement released by the team. “We have already begun the process of planning for the 2013 season, turning the page on 2012. We have challenges ahead, but they are nothing we cannot overcome. I know Sean is ready to get back to football in 2013.”

Payton has guided the most successful period in the franchise’s history, leading the Saints to three NFC South division titles and four postseason appearances. Two of his teams advanced to the NFC Championship and the 2009 squad won Super Bowl XLIV.

Payton, who was suspended for the entire 2012 season in connection with the NFL’s bounty investigation, can return to work Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl.

“I am excited that we have finalized this contract with Sean,” Saints owner Tom Benson said in the release. “He and Mickey have built a foundation of success as they have built the roster. We have already begun preparations for the 2013 season.”

Payton signed an extension in 2011 worth more than $6 million a year that would have kept him in New Orleans through 2015, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell objected to certain language in that deal, leaving Payton’s future uncertain until a deal was reached in principle.