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Broncos luring Joe Vitt out of retirement to become senior defensive coach

Vitt to assist Sean Payton, his former New Orleans' head coach. Addison Lynch and Jamar Cain are also joining Vance Joseph's defensive staff.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Retirement, as it applies within the world of Sean Payton and those who inhabit it, is merely a temporary existence.

Payton “retired” as head coach of the New Orleans Saints after the 2021 season. After sitting out a year, he returned nearly two months ago to become head coach of the Denver Broncos.

One of his first Denver coaching staff hires was Mike Westhoff, who at the age of 75 ended a four-year retirement to become the Broncos’ assistant head coach with emphasis on special teams.

And now Payton is luring his longtime coaching assistant Joe Vitt out of retirement. Vitt, who last worked as a Jets’ linebackers coach for son-in-law Adam Gase in 2019-20, is expected to join the Broncos’ staff in a senior defensive capacity, a source told 9NEWS.

Credit: AP
New York Jets defensive assistant and linebackers coach Joe Vitt watches game action against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)

The Broncos have also hired Addison Lynch as a defensive quality control coach, according to a source. Lynch had previous worked as a defensive backs assistant coach with the Chargers, Raiders and Lions.

A source also confirmed the Broncos are hiring LSU coach Jamar Cain to become their pass-rush specialist. Cain coached Nik Bonitto at Oklahoma from 2020-'21. Bonitto was the Broncos' second-round draft pick last year and is heading into a pivotal second season.

Vitt, 68, is a special hire because of his experience. He began his NFL coaching career in 1979 with the Baltimore Colts. Not the Indianapolis Colts. The Baltimore Colts.

Credit: WWL
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 5: New Orleans Saints head coach Joe Vitt during the second half of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium on August 5, 2012 in Canton, Ohio. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 17-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Vitt was part of Payton’s first staff with New Orleans in 2006 and stayed through the 2016 season as a linebackers and assistant head coach. 

Vitt flew in to Denver on Friday afternoon to meet with Payton and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph among others at Broncos headquarters. Vitt, Lynch and Cain are among the final pieces to Payton’s staff for the 2023 season with the possible exception of a few intern hires during the offseason and training camp.


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